The Northwest Arkansas Municipal Arts Alliance (MAA) is an initiative that convenes municipal leaders across the region with the intention of shaping a coordinated policy agenda.
Through a year-long program, MAA equips leaders with policy tools, introduces them to a national network of peers, and contributes to a shared regional strategy. Centering arts and creativity, MAA integrates cross-disciplinary connections to pressing issues including creative workforce development, placemaking, active public realm, and diversity and belonging.
The MAA initiative addresses a stated need of regional leaders: as public spaces, cultural venues, and civic life are transforming across Northwest Arkansas, cities are seeking to foster an inclusive creative ecosystem and to invest in character of place.
A community of practice
The Municipal Arts Alliance (MAA) is a direct response to the stated need of five municipal entities in Northwest Arkansas. The program will be organized around a series of regular gatherings, or “sessions,” throughout 2022.
Topic areas identified by the cohort include:
- Music ecosystems: policy tools that make cities more hospitable to music and musicians
- Public-private partnerships: multiple economic models and incentives that support cultural infrastructure
- Creative community development: connecting cultural practices to housing and placemaking
In addition to the sessions, the MAA cohort will take advantage of one-on-one consulting hours, which can be used to cover both national experts and local technical assistance.
Facilitators and guests
MAA will be conducted by CACHE staff, in consultation with program participants. It will invite national experts — in domains ranging from cultural planning to municipal finance — to bring inspiration to the cohort — and to consult them on specific projects. MAA is overseen and facilitated by F. Philip Barash, a recognized leader in place-based learning.
CACHE is working with local partners, Arkansans for the Arts and the Arkansas Arts Council, to complete the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 that will highlight the statewide economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences.