What is Artists 360?

Artists 360 is a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance made possible through the support of the Walton Family Foundation, designed to address the scarcity of funding and professional development opportunities for artists in the area. This initiative will elevate and energize Northwest Arkansas’s practicing artists and students by providing them a full circle of support that includes funding for creative projects, learning opportunities to develop entrepreneurship skills, and connections to a network of artists across disciplines.

What is new in the 2021 iteration of Artists 360?

In the first 3 years, of Artists 360, 20 artists from NWA were awarded grants each year – 14 practicing artists and 6 student artists. In the 2021 renewal of the program, 2 new grant categories have been introduced: the Community Activator grant and the Creative Impact award.

There will be 5 new grants awarded in 2021 (4 Community Activator grants and 1 Creative Impact Award), totaling 25 artists per annual cohort.

How much are the grants?

The grant awards are:

  • $7500 project grants for Practicing Artists
  • $1500 grants for Students
  • $15,000 for Community Activators
  • $25,000 for the Creative Impact Award

Can I apply for the Creative Impact Award?

No. This award is by nomination only – a local nominating committee of artists, curators, and arts professionals will nominate artists who have had an impact in the Northwest Arkansas region, and a national panel of artists, curators, and arts professionals will review the nominations and select the awardee.

If I have received an Artists 360 grant in the past, am I eligible to re-apply?

You are eligible to re-apply for Artists 360 in a grant category in which you have not previously received a grant. For example, if you have received a Student Artist grant, you could re-apply for the Community Activator grant or the Practicing Artist Grant.

Ultimately, the panelists for Artists 360 will use the review criteria to determine if a previous grantee should receive another award, considering equity of resources.

Which Artistic Disciplines are eligible to apply?

There are no disciplines that are unsupported by Artists 360 grants. When completing the application, you will be asked to describe a discipline that best fits your practice or project. Some examples of disciples are:

  • Performing Arts (e.g., dance, theater, music, opera, puppetry, storytelling, performance art, spoken word, sound art)
  • Traditional Arts (work that is made based on artistic traditions shaped by values and standards of excellence that are passed from generation to generation through demonstration, conversation and practice – may include crafts, storytelling, dance, music or functional art)
  • Literary Arts (e.g., fiction, nonfiction, poetry, playwriting)
  • Visual Arts (e.g., painting, sculpture, ceramics, fiber, film screenwriting, video, media arts, photography, mixed media, wearable art, experimental)
  • Multidisciplinary

In the Community Activator category, you will also be able to describe your practice as “Humanities.”

What types of projects will be considered?

  • Touring (Projects that involve the touring/presenting of your work within and outside of Arkansas).
  • Works in Progress (Projects that involve a specific phase of a work in progress that has a clear end goal).
  • Creative Research and Professional Development (Projects that focus on professional advancement and creative research opportunities that strengthen an artist’s expertise and advances their creative practice).
  • Social Practice (Projects that activate Northwest Arkansas communities and address social issues, opportunities, and challenges. Projects must focus on the creation and presentation of art and have a public component).

Student Artists do not have to submit projects. You just have to articulate how the $1,500 grant would enhance your creative practice and/or advance your artistic career.

Who is eligible to apply?

Practicing artists and students from Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, or Washington Counties in Northwest Arkansas. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age at time of application and must be a U.S. citizen or have non-resident status.

Do I have to be a resident of the state of Arkansas to apply?

Yes. Practicing Artists must be a resident of Arkansas and have established residency in one of the following counties: Benton Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, or Washington, for a minimum of one year prior to the application’s deadline date (July 19, 2021). Student Artists must be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary institution located in one of the following counties: Benton Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, or Washington, for a minimum of one year prior to the application’s deadline date (July 19, 2021 ). If selected, Student Artists must remain at their post-secondary institution during their grant year. (September 2021-August 2022).  Proof of residency documents will be disposed of after applications are closed. 

What is a ‘Practicing Artist?’

A Practicing Artist is defined as follows:

  • Has an active and current artistic practice.
  • Has specialized training in the field (not limited to academic training).
  • Has demonstrated success in the arts through the creation of high-quality work and/or contributions to the field.
  • Is recognized as a practicing artist by peers (artists working in the same discipline and by experts in the field).

Do student applicants need to be art majors to apply?


If I’m a full-time student, am I eligible to apply to the Practicing Artist or Community Activator grants?

No. If you apply for the Practicing Artist as a student, you may still be awarded a grant, but it will be a student artist grant award.

Graduate students are eligible to apply for the Community Activator grant regardless of full-time or part-time status.

When do applications open?

Applications open June 7, 2021.

When is the application deadline?

Applications close July 19, 2021 at midnight.

When will the applicants be notified?

Applicants will be notified of award status the middle of October 2021. 

Are there other commitments to this program?

Yes. All Grantees must attend the Artists 360 Convening. If you are unable to attend the convening, you will not be eligible to apply for Artists 360.

What happens at the Artists 360 convening?

Artists receive professional development training at an annual weekend convening. The focus of the convening will be to assist artists in managing their proposed projects through peer-to-peer learning and leveraging the Artists 360 opportunity for both short and long-term success. The retreat will be facilitated by established artists of all disciplines from throughout the region trained through Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Artist INC program.

What are the dates for the Artists 360 convening?

The Artists 360 convening will be November 5-7, 2021. The convening will be held virtually, over zoom. If you have questions about attending, please reach out to artistservices@maaa.org to discuss details.

Is this program for Non-profit organizations?

No. Artists 360 grants are for individuals only. If you are an artist working within a 501c3 nonprofit organization, K-12 school or post-secondary institution, proposed projects must be separate from the scope of your compensated work for that organization or educational institution.

Am I eligible to apply if I live out of state but attend a college / university in Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, or Washington Counties?

Yes. Student applicants must be enrolled (part-time or full-time) in a college or university for the 2020-2021 school year located in one of the aforementioned counties.

What are the application requirements?

Across all applications, you will be asked for some demographic information – these questions do not affect how your application is reviewed. In terms of information related to your grant proposal, the applications for each grant category vary accordingly:

The Practicing Artist application requires:

  • Proof of residency in one of our 6 eligible counties
  • Artist Statement
  • Biography
  • “How will the Artists 360 program advance your practice and career?
  • Project Information
    • Project title
    • Project Description (Short and long)
    • Project Timeline
    • Project Budget
    • Project Accessibility Information
  • Resume/CV
  • Work Sample Summary
  • Work Samples

The Student Artist application requires:

  • Proof of residency in one of our 6 eligible counties
  • Proof of enrollment in your educational institution
  • Artist Statement
  • “How will the Artists 360 Program advance your practice and career?”
  • “How will you use the grant funds?”
  • Resume / CV
  • Work Sample Summary
  • Work Samples

The Community Activator application requires:

  • Proof of residency in one of our 6 eligible counties
  • Artist Statement
  • Biography
  • Project Information
    • Project Title
    • Short & long project description
    • List of Key Collaborative Partners
    • Project Timeline
    • Budget
  • Resume / CV
  • Work Sample Summary
  • Work Samples
  • Project Accessibility Information

Who will be reviewing applications?

A national panel of artists, curators, and arts professionals.

What is the review criteria that panelists consider?

The criteria is based on artistry, program readiness and collegiality, and balanced cohort. Selected artists will have the desire to advance their career and deepen their practice, as well as an interest in sharing their work and process as part of a network of artists. Panelists will consider the overall balance of the group of grantees to ensure a broad representation of geography, perspectives, disciplines, and experience levels.