Community Activator Grants

Artists 360, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance made possible through the support of the Walton Family Foundation, provides grant funding and professional development opportunities to individual artists of all disciplines living in the Arkansas counties of Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, and Washington.

This grant program is designed to elevate and energize greater Northwest Arkansas artists by providing them with:

  • $17,500 grants to creative practices and career advancement;
  • Peer-based learning opportunities to develop entrepreneurship skills and build sustainable creative practices; and
  • Connections to a dynamic regional artist network.

The Community Activator grants are awarded annually to five individual artists with creative practices focused on collaboration. Fellows in this category must have a demonstrated history of providing opportunities to other artists, helping to create an active community of peer support in the Northwest Arkansas region. Community Activator fellows receive practice-based financial support and participate in peer-based learning experiences, including an in-person retreat, One-On-One mentorship, and small group discussions. These experiences develop entrepreneurial skills, while expanding a network of leading regional artists.


To be eligible for the Artists 360 Community Activator program, you must:

  • Be a resident of the State of Arkansas and have established residency of at least one year at the time of application, in one of the following counties: Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, or Washington.
  • Retain residency within the five-county region for the duration of the grant period (October 2024 through October 2025).
  • Commit to participating in peer-to-peer professional development activities during the grant year, including the Artists 360 Retreat at the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, AR from 9:00 a.m. Saturday, October 19, 2024 through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 20, 2024 (meals and private lodging provided).
  • Be 18 years of age at the time of application.
  • Must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have non-resident status and provide a valid Social Security Number if selected for funding.
  • Be a practicing artist that creates work in any discipline, including, but not limited to dance, film, literary, music, theatre, and visual art.
  • Show a demonstrated commitment to building and supporting the arts community in Northwest Arkansas through collaboration, providing opportunities to other artists, and community engagement.
  • May not be currently enrolled in a degree seeking program.
  • May not have previously received an Artists 360 Community Activator grant.
  • May not have received a grant or award of $1,000 or more through any other M-AAA granting program during its 2024 or 2025 fiscal years (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2025).
  • Not be a full-time employee of Mid-America Arts Alliance or an immediate family member of a full-time employee of Mid-America Arts Alliance.


Each Artists 360 Community Activator application should include:

  • Completed online application form.
  • Proof of residence (Arkansas driver’s license, bill from a bank, mortgage company, utility company, credit card company, doctor, or hospital, bank statement, property tax bill, current valid homeowner’s or renter’s policy or motor vehicle insurance card or policy, current valid Arkansas motor vehicle registration, 2023 tax filing (IRS or state of Arkansas).
  • Artist Biography (maximum 100 words).
  • Artist Statement or Description of your Artistic Practice (maximum 250 words).
  • Artist Resume/CV (maximum 3 pages, pdf format).
  • Narrative responses to the following questions:
    • Creative Practice Evolution: In your own words, explain the evolution of your collaborative practice over the previous few years. What work have you been pursuing? How has the work evolved? Why has it evolved in that way? Have you faced challenges or constraints in making work? (250-word maximum)
    • Future of Your Creative Practice: Where do you want your collaborative creative practice to be in five years? How do you determine and measure success within your practice? (250-word maximum)
    • Collaboration: How have you collaborated with other artists through your creative practice? How have you provided opportunities to peer artists through your creative practice? How does collaboration and providing opportunities for other artists inform your creative work?
    • Fund Use: If awarded an Artists 360 Community Activator Grant, how do you intend to use the funds to further your collaborative creative practice? (250-word maximum)
    • Professional Development: Considering the criteria for this grant, explain how participating in the Artists 360 Fall Retreat, learning alongside a dedicated, small group of your peers, accessing one-on-one mentoring sessions with Artist Peer Facilitators, and building a network of regional artists, will be beneficial to the development of your creative practice. What strengths will you bring to share with your peers? (250-word maximum)
    • *Optional: What identities do you hold that you believe are relevant to share? This information will be shared with panelists and is an additional opportunity to share more of your story. Including but not limited to race, ethnicity, disability, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, caregiver, military, rural resident, of immigrant experience, English as a second language. For example, “I am a Taiwanese American cis-gender female, first-generation immigrant living in rural Arkansas.” or “I am a LGBTQ+ parent of two children.” (100 word maximum)
  • Up to five artwork samples (images – 1MB max. per image, audio files, film files, or URLs to audio and film files).
  • Work Sample Summary (maximum 1000 words).

Review Criteria

Artistry: Selected artists will demonstrate artistic excellence, broadly defined by the practitioners and norms in their discipline, and show a deep commitment to their work. Selected artists will have an active creative practice for a minimum of three years and show motivation to continue and further evolve.

Collaboration: Selected artists have a demonstrated history of collaboration, providing opportunities to other artists, and helping to create an active community of peer support in the Northwest Arkansas region.

Program Readiness: Selected artists will have the desire to advance their career and deepen their practice, engage in an active strategic management process surrounding their practice, as well as an interest in sharing their work and process as part of a network of artists in a peer learning environment.

Impact of Funding on Practice: Selected artists will clearly identify the ways in which Artists 360 funds will impact their careers and creative practices. These identified impacts should relate to previous challenges and/or desired futures.

Balanced Cohort: The overall balance of the group of fellows will be considered to ensure a broad representation of perspectives, disciplines, and experiences.

Community Activator Grant Program Timeline


  • April 22, 2024 – June 10, 2024: Application Period
  • April 22, 2024 – June 10, 2024: Application Support from M-AAA staff

Application Reviews:

  • July – August 2024: Panel Review


  • September 1, 2024: Applicant notification

Important Dates:

  • October 19 – 20, 2024: Artists 360 Retreat
  • November 2024 – January 2025: Funding distributed
  • April 26 – 27, 2025: Artists 360 Alumni Retreat & Full Circle Showcase
  • November 3, 2025: Final Reports due