New study reveals findings on Northwest Arkansas arts and culture ecosystem

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,021 views 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Photo credit: Michael Barera.

Northwest Arkansas’ arts community has offerings for nearly every audience, according to a new study released Thursday (April 4).

The 18-page report indicates the region is becoming more competitive with other arts capitals of the U.S., aided by the growth of “internationally recognized museums and other cultural amenities.”

The research was conducted by SMU (Southern Methodist University) DataArts, a joint project of the Meadows School of the Arts and Cox School of Business at SMU in Dallas, and was funded by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation in Bentonville.

“A highly engaged community where different voices have an opportunity to be heard is at the core of a thriving arts and culture scene,” Walton Family Foundation Home Region Program Director Karen Minkel said in a statement. “These findings highlight success stories from the region’s arts ecosystem but also spotlight areas to further elevate vibrancy in Northwest Arkansas through the work of cultural organizations and artists.”

SMU DataArts examined arts providers, arts dollars and government support in both Benton and Washington counties over four years. The findings showed Northwest Arkansas’ overall arts vibrancy has increased since 2013 with the growth of large arts and cultural institutions, such as Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville. It has also substantially improved its rankings in arts education and “other museums,” as well as in the community-based, performing arts centers and theater sectors.

A PDF of the full report is available here.

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