A new program for artists in Central Arkansas

Combining money, mentoring, and management the Catalyze program ignites change in the careers of individual artists. A program of Mid-America Arts Alliance made possible through the support of the Windgate Foundation, Catalyze provides practice-based grant funding, professional development, and coaching to artists of all disciplines in central Arkansas.  

Catalyze fellowships of $10,000 are awarded annually to twenty-five artists, who may choose how best to use the funding in support of their creative practices. Grantees actively work under the guidance of Peer Artist Facilitators to formulate their self-determined ideals of success and strategically plan how best to utilize the grant funding to achieve their goals in an amplifying professional development retreat weekend. Ongoing support is provided through one-on-one coaching sessions throughout the following year. Program alumni join future Catalyze cohorts at the professional development retreat weekend to share their experiences and extend their ever-broadening network of peer support.

Applications for the program will open January 9, 2023, at 9:00 a.m. CST, and will close February 24, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. CST.

Applicants have the option to complete their applications verbally with M-AAA staff.  (Note: Artist bio, artist statement, and all narrative answers must be prepared in advance. Work samples must be submitted as digital files or as links to website addresses. Requests for assistance must be received by Friday, February 10, 2023).

Click here to download our application guide.

Begin the application by clicking one of the links below:

Questions? Email

Program Objectives

The Catalyze program is designed to ignite the careers of individual artists through money, strategic management, and mentoring.

  • Money: Artists receive $10,000 awards to advance their artistic career. These practice-based grants allow the individual artists to select how best to use the funding in support of their self-determined goals for success. Funds may be used for any purpose that supports the continued development of their creative practice, including but not limited to equipment, travel, studio space, child care, professional services, research, supplies, and contingency savings.
  • Strategic Management: Artists participate in professional development programming to develop, refine, and implement strategic plans for their practices. Artists are asked to independently complete approximately two hours of strategic planning exercises prior to the Catalyze Retreat. Utilizing a dynamic small peer group process, artists will engage in learning, application, and receive peer-based support in small groups of five Catalyze Fellows led by an experienced Artist Peer Facilitator. Small group peer support will continue post-retreat with two 90-minute virtual small group sessions held in the following year.
  • Mentoring: Artists will select from more than fifty experienced M-AAA Peer Artist Facilitators for one-on-one mentoring sessions where they can explore specific practice-related questions and receive support.  Artists will have two 50-minute one-on-one sessions in the year following the Catalyze retreat.
Applicant Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for an Catalyze grant, an artist must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age by the application due date.
  • Be a full-time resident of the State of Arkansas and have established a minimum of one-year residency by the application due date in one of the following central Arkansas counties: Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Lonoke, Perry, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Van Buren, White, and Yell.
  • Create work in any artistic discipline, including but not limited to dance, film, literary, music, theatre, and visual art.
  • Have a résumé that demonstrates at least three years of engagement in a creative practice prior to the application due date. The creative practice is not required to have taken place during consecutive years. If the applicant’s creative practice was affected or suspended due to COVID-19, the application may reference 2020 or 2021 activities that were canceled or reimagined due to the pandemic. Virtual activities are considered creative practice. The applicant may also choose to list creative practice from a year other than 2020 or 2021. For the purposes of defining eligibility, “three years of engagement” refers to when the applicant began their creative practice independent of activities required in pursuit of an academic degree or other certification.
  • Commit to participating in peer-to-peer strategic planning activities during the grant year, including the Catalyze Retreat at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock, AR, from 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 24, 2023 through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, 2023 (meals and private lodging provided).
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or have non-resident status and provide a valid Social Security Number if selected for funding.
  • Be in good standing with Mid-America Arts Alliance, with no delinquent reports and/or grant documents.
  • Not have received a grant of $1,000 or more through any other M-AAA granting program during its 2023 Fiscal Year (July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023).
  • Not have previously received a Catalyze grant.
  • Not be a currently enrolled student in an undergraduate or graduate program.
Application Requirements
  • Completed online application form
  • Artist Biography (100 words max)
  • Artist Statement (250 words max)
  • Artist Résumé/CV (maximum 3 pages)
  • Narrative responses to the following questions:
    • Creative Practice Evolution: In your own words, explain the evolution of your creative 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 creative practice to be in five years? How do you determine and measure success within your practice? (250-word maximum)
    • Fund Use: If awarded a Catalyze Artist Grant, how do you intend to use the funds to further your artistic practice? (250-word maximum)
    • Professional Development: Considering the criteria for this grant, explain how participating in the Catalyze 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? 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. This section will be visible to the panel reviewers. For example, “I am a Taiwanese American cis-gender female, first-generation immigrant living in rural Arkansas.” (100-word maximum)
  • Up to five artwork samples (images, audio files, video files, literary files, or URLs to audio, video, and/or literary files) (1MB maximum per file)
  • Work Sample Summary (maximum 3 pages)
  • 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, 2021 tax filing (IRS or state of Arkansas) with sensitive information redacted.
Review Criteria

Review of application materials will focus on:

Successful applicants 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.

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
Successful applicants will clearly identify the ways in which Catalyze funds will impact their careers and creative practices. These identified impacts should relate to previous challenges and/or desired futures.

Panelist Review Process

Step 1

M-AAA will hire artists and arts professionals to serve as panelists. Working independently, panelists will evaluate each application using the review criteria. Great care is taken to minimize bias. We pay panelists to review implicit bias documents and video, read about our Equity and Diversity work and M-AAA’s Strategic Plan and Values, and affirm this review prior to beginning the panel process.

Panelists are required to comment on each application relative to the review criteria. All applicants will have the opportunity to request the panelists’ feedback upon their receipt of acceptance or rejection.

During the review process, the panelists will carefully consider the review criteria and select a statement for each application:

  • I recommend that this application advances in the selection process.
  • I am unsure, but am inclined to recommend that this application advances in the selection process.
  • I am unsure, but am inclined to recommend that this application does not advance in the selection process.
  • I do not recommend that this application advances in the selection process.

Step 2

Applications with the highest degree of consensus will move onto Step 2. All recommended applications will enter into a lottery process, from which twenty-five grantees will be drawn. These grantees will represent a balanced cohort, including diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, geography, and artistic discipline. There is data that suggests that typical grant review processes tend to favor artists with more resources. The use of the lottery process is a step to address a panel’s subjectivity, risk aversion, and uncritical “hive mind” thinking.

Program Timeline


January 9, 2023, 9:00 a.m. (CST): Online Applications open

February 24, 2023, 5:00 pm. (CST): Online Applications close

January 9–February 24, 2023: Application Support from M-AAA staff

Application Reviews:

February 25–March 1, 2023: M-AAA staff reviews applications for eligibility

March–April 2023: Discipline-Specific Advisory Panel Reviews


May 5, 2023: Applicant notification

July 2023: Applicant feedback provided, available upon request

Grantee Important Dates:

May 2023: Grant agreements and financial forms completed

June 2023: Funding distributed, in one payment

June 24–25, 2023: Catalyze Retreat

September–November 2023: Small Group Session #1 & One-On-One Session #1

January–March 2024: Small Group Session #2 & One-On-One Session #2

June 1, 2024: Final Reports due

M-AAA Policies and Procedures

Grant recipients must comply with the Federal policies and legal requirements, statutes, and regulations as stated in M-AAA’s Assurance of Compliance.

Grant awards are considered income. Grant recipients are responsible for all tax obligations under federal, state, and local laws. M-AAA recommends that all recipients consult a tax accountant or local Internal Revenue Service office with questions or concerns regarding deductions and reporting.

Final Reporting

Upon the completion of the grant cycle, all grantees will be asked to submit a final report. This report will include the following:

  • How did you use your grant funds? What impact did this funding have on your creative practice and career trajectory?
  • What impact did the professional development experiences you participated in as a Catalyze Fellow have on your overall creative practices and career trajectory?
  • Optional: documentation to demonstrate creative practice and career progress
Catalyze Artist Peer Facilitators

Brody Parrish Craig (they/them): Originally from Louisiana, Brody Parrish Craig is a southern writer who upheaves expectations to open spaces for connection, unlearning & change. They are the author of Boyish, winner of the 2019 Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest, and editor of TWANG, a collection of transgender, nonbinary & gender nonconforming creators of the south/midwest. Their poems appear in journals such as Gigantic Sequins, Hobart, Typo, Muzzle Magazine, and New South Journal, among others. They also write creative nonfiction and have published work in just femme and dandy. Their full-length poetry collection, The Patient Is An Unreliable Historian, is forthcoming from Omnidawn Publishing in 2024.

Amos Cochran (he/him): Amos Cochran is an Emmy-nominated composer, musician, and sound artist. His work has been showcased at the Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto Film Festivals; PBS; The London Design Festival; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; The Unexpected; The University of Houston Brain Center. Cochran currently serves as creative director of the new experimental art showcase, ArcadeNow. In 2023, Cochran will be one of the Arkansas Arts Council Fellows for his multisensory work. Along with expanding his work for film, he will be a collaborator with the Fort Smith Symphony for their new chamber music services, Perspectives.

Sharon Killian (she/her): Sharon Killian was born in Jamaica, West Indies, and raised in Harlem, New York. She lives at the intersection of race, art, and the American social construct. In 2005 she relocated to Fayetteville, Arkansas with her family from the metro Washington, DC, area where she was an arts educator and practicing artist. Killian founded the non-profit arts organization Art Ventures NWA in 2016 to also engage artists of micro-communities and minoritized groups who historically are denied access to arts ecosystems. The underpinning philosophy is that quality of life is enhanced through exposure to art and minoritized communities also deserve this experience. She taught in Art Education at the UA School of Art during academic years 2014–16 while continuing the development of Art Ventures and the socio-cultural nonprofit, NWA Black Heritage, which she co-founded in 2008. Killian’s works are in the Tyson Corporate collection (AR), the U of Arkansas Chancellor’s collection (Fayetteville, AR), NWA Community College, and numerous private holdings locally and across the US.

Kholoud Sawaf (she/her): Kholoud Sawaf is a theatre artist and cultural investigator from Damascus, Syria. She has worked in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Inspired by COVID, Kholoud co-created Curbside Theatre to investigate theatre as a service. Supported by the Doris Duke Foundation, she created and directed 10,000 Balconies, an original play inspired by Romeo and Juliet and set in Damascus, at TheatreSquared. Kholoud presently leads a collaboration between Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese. Kholoud’s work has appeared in New York; Connecticut; Oregon; Massachusetts; Washington, DC; Nairobi, Kenya; and Dubai, UAE.

Blake Worthey (any pronouns/”our relative”): Blake Worthey is a Black American, dance-theater and teaching artist from Memphis, TN. Currently, he is interested in how the dialectical technologies inherent in creative spaces can inform the building of a more equitable world outside of our artistic lives. His training includes a BFA in Dance Performance (University of Arkansas-Little Rock), Modus Operandi (Vancouver, BC), Orsalina 28 (Italy), and imitating various dance & kung fu movies circa 2004. Most recently he directed “more like a hot pot less like a salad”, a collaborative performance as part of the Live in America Festival.

Artist Services Program Staff

Kyle Mullins (he/him): Kyle Mullins is an arts administrator, performance producer, and dance artist living and creating in Kansas City, MO. Kyle is an Artist Services Program Officer at Mid-America Arts Alliance, Director of the monthly dance series Making Moves, and Art Director for the public art exhibition Art in the Loop. As a dance artist he performs his own dance works as a soloist, creates works of dance-theater with his company Cerca Trova, and makes dance films. His work has been commissioned by dance companies, galleries, botanical gardens, University programs, professional theater stages in both New York City and Kansas City, and more. Kyle holds a MFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Jade Osborne (she/her/we): Jade Osborne is an arts administrator and an innovative creative person who is passionate about the arts and community. She has a long-term commitment to social work and arts education. Jade is a performing and visual artist, and experiential curator. She explores the space in between the self, the other, and the living art that is created when we are together. Jade’s performances and installations are alive, through ritual, repetition and inclusion…transformative from artist conception and informed by community intention.

David Wayne Reed (he/him): David Wayne Reed is a writer, director, and producer whose work can be found on page, on stage, and on screen. Works include: Shelf Life, land and flower, Eternal Harvest, Goliath, Help Yourself, Jolly Rancher, Mother Trucker, Mother Trucker 2: Ride On, Sequoia, and Peggy and Paul at the Post Office in Provincetown. He has been awarded grants from Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Charlotte Street Foundation, Spencer Museum of Art, Puffin Foundation, ArtsKC, and was named one of ’25 Reasons We Love KC.’ David serves on the Municipal Art Commission of Kansas City, Missouri.

Diane Scott (she/her): Diane Scott is an arts administrator, educator, and writer specializing in the development of resources and programming to support artists in the management of enduring artistic practices. Diane was the founding director and principal designer for the Artist INC professional development program now offered in seven states and completed by more than 1,500 artists. Diane has an active arts consulting practice providing program assessment, artist professional development program design, and strategic planning support for organizations across the country. She recently completed work on her artist entrepreneurship textbook, Making Art Work for You: Arts Management for the Individual Artist.
Application Support and Resources

M-AAA Artist Services views the application process as a professional development learning experience. For this reason, the Artist Services team at M-AAA provides extensive application support through instructional “How to” documents, one-on-one meetings, email, and grant-writing workshops.

Applicants also have the option to complete their applications verbally with M-AAA staff, although work samples must be submitted as digital files or as links to website addresses. Requests for assistance must be received by Friday, February 10, 2023. You may download and utilize any or all of these instructional documents below. Have more questions or need assistance? Email us:

To schedule a time for a one-on-one application support session, use this Calendly link. These twenty-minute sessions will take place throughout the application period on the following days and times:

January 9–February 24, 2023

  • Mondays: noon–1:00 p.m. CST
  • Tuesdays: noon–1:00 p.m. CST and 5–6:00 p.m. CST
  • Wednesdays: noon–1 p.m. CST
  • Thursdays: noon–1 p.m. CST and 5–6:00 p.m. CST
Free Information Sessions

Learn more about the Catalyze grant and the application process by attending one of the following free “How to Apply Yourself” grant application workshops by David Wayne Reed, Constituent Engagement Specialist at Mid-America Arts Alliance.

Sign up in advance to reserve your space. All information sessions are free. For questions, contact David Wayne Reed at


  • Wednesday, February 8, 2023–LIVE at Emergent Arts, 5:30–6:30 p.m. CST
    Emergent Arts, 341-A Whittington Ave., Hot Springs, Arkansas
    Register on Eventbrite


  • Thursday, February 9, 2023–LIVE at ArtSpace on Main, 5:30–6:30 p.m. CST
    ArtSpace on Main, 623 Main Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
    Register on Eventbrite


  • Friday, February 10, 2023–LIVE at Brandon House, 4:30–5:30 p.m. CST
    Brandon House Cultural and Performing Arts Center
    12120 Colonel Glenn Rd Suite 6400, Little Rock, Arkansas
    Register on Eventbrite


  • Saturday, February 11, 2023–LIVE at Argenta Community Theatre–10:00–11:00 a.m. CST
    Argenta Community Theatre, 315 Main St, Suite B, North Little Rock, Arkansas
    Register on Eventbrite
Application Tips and Troubleshooting

We strongly encourage applicants to access the online application through the Google Chrome browser.

Make sure cookies are enabled

  • On your computer, open Chrome.
  • At the top right, click More. Settings.
  • Under “Privacy and security,” click Site settings.
  • Click Cookies.
  • From here, you can: Turn on cookies: Next to “Blocked,” turn on the switch.

Compose the answers to your narrative questions in a word processing document (i.e., Microsoft word or Google Docs) and then copy and paste answers into the online application form when you are fully satisfied with your responses.

Verify that all files you will be uploading to the online application form (proof of residency, resume/CV, budget, images, literary samples, and work-sample summary) are less than 1 MB in size per attachment.

Carefully verify that you have typed your email address into the online application form correctly. Your email address is how you access your saved application.

As you are working in the online application, save frequently.

Work well in advance of the deadline of February 24, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. CST. If you’re going to have a technical problem, it always happens when the clock is ticking.



  • Catalyze is a year-long program beginning in June 2023, with grant applications opening in January 2023. The following cycle will open in January 2024. 



  • $10,000 Practice-based grant, professional development retreat in Little Rock, AR, One-on-One Mentoring sessions with Artist Peer Facilitators, and Small Group meetings during the granting period.


  • Full time residents (minimum one year) of Arkansas counties: Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Garland, Grant, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Lonoke, Perry, Pope, Prairie, Pulaski, Saline, Van Buren, White, and Yell. 
  • Artists that are 21 years or older and have a valid social security number. 
  • Artists who create work in any artistic discipline with at least a three year art practice outside of university. 
  • Artists who can commit to attending the Catalyze Retreat in Little Rock, AR from June 24th-25th.
  • Artists that are in good standing with Mid-America Arts Alliance and have not received another grant from M-AAA for more than $1000 in the same grant year.



  • Each Catalyze cohort will consist of 25 artists per grant cycle. 



  • Catalyze is made possible through the support of the Windgate Foundation, a private, family foundation based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Windgate’s goal is to advance contemporary craft and strengthen visual arts education in the United States. More information can be found at:



  • We expect this program to be highly competitive as we only have 25 grants available for all artist applicants within 16 counties of Arkansas. 



  • Artistry

Successful applicants 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.  

  • 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

Successful applicants will clearly identify the ways in which Catalyze funds will impact their careers and creative practices. These identified impacts should relate to previous challenges and/or desired futures.



  • M-AAA staff does NOT make any selection decisions: panels of artists and arts leaders from across the country make the initial selections, and a lottery process determines the final selection. M-AAA staff members are here to administrate the application and panel process, and we’re available to answer questions and help applicants with their applications.


A typical review panel is made up of four people:

  • A minimum of two panelist members will be BIPOC individuals.
  • A minimum of two panelist members will be practicing artists.

M-AAA is committed to a peer review process that provides fresh and diverse input from an ever-changing field. In addition, M-AAA will consider age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, geography, discipline of arts experience, relationship to arts and culture (e.g. being an artist, arts administrator, or arts enthusiast), and other factors when selecting its application review panels. 

Panelists are paid for their time and typically spend approximately five hours reviewing 25 applications.  Applications are distributed to panels based on artistic discipline.  Review panels for the Catalyze grant will include:

  • Visual 
  • Literary
  • Film
  • Music
  • Performing Arts (Theatre and Dance)
  • Interdisciplinary


  • Congratulations! Make sure you mark your calendar for the Catalyze Retreat in Little Rock, AR, June 24-25, 2023. Next, return the Grant Agreements and Financial Forms and we’ll get you set up to receive your practice-based grant! 



  • Artists may use the grant support for any purpose which supports the continued development of their creative practice. This includes, but is not limited to equipment; travel for research, development, and performance; residencies; child care; studio space; creative projects; training; professional services; and living expenses to allow for creative work time.


  • Artist Peer Facilitators, your cohort and the M-AAA Artist Services staff.



  • Artist Peer Facilitators are artists from across the M-AAA region (Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas) who have been trained as facilitators in one of our professional artist programs, which include: Artist INC, Artist INC Express, Interchange, Artists 360, and Catalyze.


  • Yes, all selected grantees must attend the Catalyze Retreat in Little Rock, AR from June 24th-25th, 2023.



The Catalyze Retreat is a two-day professional development workshop that serves four primary purposes:

  • To give you dedicated time and the processes to consider and plan for your Catalyze grant funds.
  • That you may meet your fellows and develop a community.
  • For you to feel validated, well cared for, and that you and your practices are valued.
  • That you will gain the understanding of how the Catalyze grant works, the support it provides, and what you are required to do during your grant period.
  • The retreat weekend allows time for all current grantees to gather as a cohort to share working and community space centered around developing practices and creative careers. Throughout the weekend, artists will work in both large and small groups, share meals, learn alongside Artist Peer Facilitators, while building networks and community. Private lodging and meals for each grantee will be provided. 


  • One-On-Ones are opportunities to ask questions, set goals, discuss project specifics, and obtain feedback. Grantees will select from a list of Artist Peer Facilitators from across the Mid-America region who facilitate programs across all Artist Services programs. One-On-One sessions are scheduled cooperatively by grantees and Artist Peer Facilitators for meetings outside the retreat weekend. These sessions typically take place virtually or over the phone. 


Have more questions or need assistance? Email us: