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Q&A with Asya Webster: Championing Humanities in Arkansas

By Elizabeth Snell

Female-presenting individual with medium dark skin and brown blazer with glasses smiles at camera in a headshot portrait. Background is a colorful blue green yellow painterly gradient with the name Asya Webster written.

Meet Asya Webster, a 2024 National Leaders of Color Fellow.

Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, Asya serves as one of the program officers for grants and public programs at the Arkansas Humanities Council. Her upbringing in rural Wrightsville, coupled with her dedication to the arts from a young age, has shaped her into a passionate advocate for cultural enrichment. 

We’re thrilled to introduce you to Asya as part of our Q&A series with our region’s National Leaders of Color Fellows. Asya is one of six National Leaders of Color Fellows chosen from Mid-America Arts Alliance’s six state region. Alongside those regional representatives and the 48 other fellows from diverse communities nationwide, Asya will engage in an eight-month online leadership development experience curated by WESTAF in collaboration with the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations. This initiative reflects Asya’s dedication to fostering inclusive and diverse spaces within the arts community, both in Arkansas and beyond. 

What projects are you working on these days?

Asya: Currently, I am deeply involved in co-founding the Next Generation Humanities Conference scheduled to convene in Little Rock, Arkansas, from March 6–9, 2024. Additionally, I serve as the project director for Taking What We Can Carry, a United We Stand initiative spotlighting compelling lecture series spotlighting Arkansas history. In my work at the Arkansas Humanities Council, I’m excited to contribute to our impactful work that resonates across the state.

What is your earliest memory of being involved with art and creative work?

Asya: My creative journey traces back to elementary school where I first began writing. One of my earliest endeavors was crafting a little spy story, undoubtedly influenced by my mom’s love for action movies.

What are your hopes and visions for your community and our region as a whole?

Asya: I envision a future marked by genuine diversity and meaningful conversations about our past, guiding us toward a brighter tomorrow.

What keeps you moving forward?

Asya: Knowing that someone paved the way for me fuels my commitment to making the path easier for others.

Is there someone that you have admired (mentor, teacher, friend, or artist) that impacted your path in a positive way that you’d like to share?

Asya: Ms. Halton, my seventh-grade English teacher at Fuller Middle School, holds a special place in my heart. May she rest in peace.


More about Asya: 

Asya holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Philander Smith College and has a rich background in both performance arts and education. Her play, Waiting on Sunrise, and her leadership in initiatives like the Next Generation Humanities Conference exemplify her unwavering commitment to making the arts accessible to all in Arkansas.

To learn more about the 2023–24 fellows, visit artslead.org/leaders/2023nationalfellows/. We will present additional Q&A sessions with each fellow throughout the spring.

The National Leaders of Color Fellowship is supported by the six United States Regional Arts Organizations (US RAOs) Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid Atlantic Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and program convener WESTAF 


About the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations

​​The U.S. Regional Arts Organizations strengthen and support arts, culture, and creativity in their individual regions as well as across the nation. They serve the nation’s artists, arts and culture organizations, and creative communities with programs that reflect and celebrate the diversity of the field in which they work. They partner with the National Endowment for the Arts, state arts agencies, individuals, and other public and private funders to develop and deliver programs, services, and products that advance arts and creativity. Learn more at www.usregionalarts.org.