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Art and Social Impact Accelerator

The Arts and Social Impact Accelerator Program (ASAP) cultivates partnerships with social service agencies and local artists in Northwest Arkansas. The partnerships will incubate ideas that creatively address social issues through collaboration, arts-based solutions, and socially-engaged experiences.

ASAP was directly inspired by the museum’s experience with community outreach during the COVID crisis. Read the COVID Response report.

“ACOM is excited to explore an artistic approach to tell our story.  This is a very unique and a new way for social equity in our work, however, we feel strongly that the visual delivery of a strong message will be more powerful.” — Melisa Laelan, ACOM Agency Lead

ASAP Guiding Principles

  • Each project will be uniquely tuned to the goals and social issues of the artist/agency partners
  • Partners discover audience and community needs through collaborative discussion and listening sessions.
  • Together, they holistically develop ideas for arts engagements that effectively serve each agency’s audience needs.
  • ASAP is intended to be a multi-year program with each partnership following a year-long cycle that creates long-term change and lasting relationships.

Participant Roles

  • The agency acts as the subject matter expert on social issues to be addressed and relationship building with the communities they serve.
  • The artist acts as a subject matter expert on art, socially engaged practice, and ways of cultivating community bonds.
  • The museum is the connector between agencies, artists and communities. The museum oversees project management supports long-term relationship building and resources with communities through art and wellness.

2021 Arts and Social Impact Participants

Kalyn Fay Barnoski
Kalyn Fay Barnoski, Artist

“I was inspired to participate in this program because I believe strongly that arts-based problem-solving can be a powerful communication tool and platform for communities whose needs deserve a wider public view.” — Kalyn Fay Barnoski

Lauren Haggard
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Lauren Haggard-Duff, PhD., RN

“Part of our mission at UAMS is inclusive excellence – meaning to recognize that our success hinges on how well we value, engage and include diversity in all aspects.” — Lauren Haggard-Duff, PhD., RN

Kholoud Sawaf
Photo by Sara Bentham
Kholoud Sawaf, Theatre Artist

“I am very excited to be a part of this program and to participate in much-needed social-conscious artistic conversation, uplift voices that need it, and bring communities together through art.” — Kholoud Sawaf

Melisa Laelan, ACOM Agency Lead
Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese (ACOM), Melisa Laelan

“ACOM is excited to explore an artistic approach to tell our story.  This is a very unique and a new way for social equity in our work, however, we feel strongly that the visual delivery of a strong message will be more powerful.” — Melisa Laelan, Agency Lead

Octavio Logo
Octavio Logo, Artist

“ASAP is the very first project I participate with all the necessary components to test what I consider one of the deepest forms of public art.” — Octavio Logo

Joel Gardner
Ozark Regional Transit Authority (ORT), Joel Gardner

“ORT is grateful to be selected as a partner in the Arts + Social Impact partnership. We hope to help elevate the importance of public transit in the areas we serve.” — Joel Gardner, Agency Lead