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

  • $15,000 grants to support collaborative projects,
  • Peer-based learning opportunities to develop entrepreneurship skills and build sustainable creative practices
  • Connections to a dynamic regional artist network

The Community Activator grants are awarded annually to five individual artists to support collaborative projects that generate dialogue and community engagement. Projects must also provide opportunities to other artists, helping to create an active community of peer support in the Northwest Arkansas region. Grantees receive financial support for their community-based projects 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.

Download an application guide here: A360 Community Activator Grant Application Guide.pdf


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 (September 2023 through October 2024).
  • Commit to participating in peer-to-peer professional development activities during the grant year, including the Artists 360 Grantee Retreat at the 21C Museum Hotel in Bentonville, AR from 9:00 a.m. Saturday, October 21, 2023 through 1:00 p.m. On Sunday, October 22, 2023 (meals and private lodging provided).
  • Be 18 years of age at the time of application.
  • Must be a citizen, permanent resident, or have non-resident status.
  • Make exceptional work and be recognized as a professional in your field
  • Be committed to building and supporting the arts community in Northwest Arkansas
  • Be a practicing artist that creates work in any discipline, including, but not limited to dance, film, literary, music, theatre, and visual art.
  • May not be currently enrolled in a degree seeking program.
  • May not have previously received an Artists 360 Community Activator grant.
  • May not be 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, 2022 tax filing (IRS or state of Arkansas).
  • Artist Statement or Description of your Artistic Practice (maximum 250 words).
  • Artist Biography (maximum 100 words).
  • Artist Resume/CV (maximum 3 pages, pdf format).
  • Project description, project title and short project description including collaborative partners
  • Project timeline.
  • Project budget (maximum 3 pages, pdf format).
  • 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: Successful applicants will demonstrate artistic excellence, variously defined by the practitioners and norms in their discipline, and show a deep commitment to their work.
  • Project Design: The project description clearly addresses how this project is collaborative in nature, the needs the project addresses, the community it plans to engage and the applicant’s relationship to that community. The project includes clear goals and outcomes for the project including community impact. Applicant provides a realistic timeline and an appropriate budget.  Collaborative partners and their involvement are clearly identified.  Project-related pieces are coordinated and make sense in relationship to the whole of the project.
  • Program Readiness and Collegiality: 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.
  • Balanced Cohort: Panelists will consider the overall balance of the group of grantees to ensure a broad representation of perspectives, disciplines, and experience

Community Activator Grant Program Timeline

  • Applications
    • May 1, 2023 – June 28, 2023: Application Period
    • May 1, 2023 – June 28, 2023: Application Support from M-AAA staff
  • Application Reviews:
    • July – August 2023: Panel Review
  • Notifications:
    • September 1, 2023: Applicant notification
  • Grantee Important Dates:
    • October 21-22, 2023: Artists 360 Grantee Retreat
    • January 2024: Funding distributed
    • April 20 – 21, 2024: Artists 360 Alumni Retreat & Full Circle Showcase
    • December 13, 2024: Final Reports due