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Walton Family Foundation Invests $300,000 with Continuation of Artists 360

By Elizabeth Snell

Large group of people sit together for a group portrait in a light-filled atrium.

Artists in Northwest Arkansas will receive more funding, peer networking, and professional development through Artists 360, thanks to renewed funding from the Walton Family Foundation. Artists 360, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA), ignites the careers of artists of all disciplines in Benton, Carroll, Crawford, Sebastian, and Washington counties by providing money, strategic management, and mentoring. 

From its inception in 2018, Artists 360 has awarded a total of $1 million to six cohorts of 138 artists in Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley. The Walton Family Foundation provided $300,000 in funds for Mid-America Arts Alliance’s Artists 360 grant awards this year, up from $230,000 in 2023. 

The application for the upcoming seventh cohort will open April 22, 2024, with expanded grant categories, more funding, and a shift from project-focused support to a practice-centered support. 

Under this revised model, Artist 360 fellows will have the flexibility to allocate their grant funds according to their individual creative needs. This includes using awards for needs such as equipment, travel, studio space, child care, professional services, research, supplies, and contingency savings.

“The modification of the grants in the Artists 360 program away from project-based funding to practice-based funding is a game changer,” says Diane Scott, director of M-AAA’s artists services. “We’re deeply grateful to the Walton Family Foundation for not just expanding the grant amounts, categories, and numbers of artists funded, but for extending trust to the artist community to self-direct their awards in a manner that best supports their individual creative practices.

The six years and $1 million dollars of support already provided has created a strong and supportive community of artists in the region. I can’t wait to see what this additional investment and approach does for that community.”

The revised program will allocate monetary awards across five categories to benefit 31 artists from Northwest Arkansas. Notably, the inclusion of both undergraduate and graduate student grants will expand opportunities for emerging talents. 

This year’s grant categories and amounts include:

  • Five $2,500 Undergraduate Student grants
  • Five $5,000 Graduate Student grants
  • Fifteen $10,000 Practicing Artist grants
  • Five $17,500 Community Activator grants
  • One $25,000 Creative Impact Award

In addition to financial assistance, Artists 360 offers learning opportunities aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills, building enduring creative practices, and creating a network of leading regional artists in Northwest Arkansas.

Program alumni convene annually for an Alumni Retreat and the public Full Circle Showcase, fostering community engagement and showcasing creative endeavors with the broader Northwest Arkansas community.

Application Timelines

  • Artists 360 Undergraduate Student Artist, Graduate Student Artist, Practicing Artist, and Community Activator grant applications open April 22, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. and close June 10, 2024 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Artists 360 Creative Impact Award Nominations open April 22, 2024, at 9:00 a.m. and close May 24, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. Nominees will be invited to apply between May 29, 2024, and June 24, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Free information sessions will be conducted at various locations in Northwest Arkansas as well as virtually from April 18 through May 9. These sessions, as well as open office hours from April 29 through June 10, can help guide interested applicants through the application process. Learn more and register at artists360.art/apply.

Full application guidelines and eligibility may be found at artists360.art/apply.


Header photography: 2023 Artists 360 grantees. Photographer: Ironside Photography.