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Arkansas Arts Council expands artist grant program

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Arkansas Arts Council
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Artist Kensuke Yamada, a past recipient of the AAC Fellowship grant, helps create a work of art in glass.

Artists, performers and craftspeople in Arkansas have a new way to support their work.

The Arkansas Arts Council is partnering with the Little Rock-based Windgate Foundation to expand the council’s AAC Fellowship program. The new partnership will allow grants to be increased to $5,000, as well as doubling the number of eligible categories.

The council’s director Patrick Ralston says the goal is to create a larger ecosystem for artists to thrive in the state.

“We’re looking for artists who are excelling in their particular discipline, and what we’re looking for is a strong body of work that shows past progress, but also shows that this is an artist who is going somewhere,” Ralston said. “Very much, these grants are a workforce investment in Arkansas artists.”

Up to 18 grants will be awarded, with as many as three artists from each category receiving the unmatched funding. Ralston says categories include multisensory art, contemporary craft, and community engagement art.

“We want our categories to be relevant, we want them to be categories that are strongly represented in the state of Arkansas. We’re seeing a lot of artists engage directly in their communities, through public art, through public events, and so we did want to provide that as a category,” Ralston said.

“We want to build this network, this community of artists in Arkansas that is strong and self-sustaining, that brings in new talent, new vision. And we feel that this new and reinvigorated individual artists’ fellowship will become sort of the centerpiece of all our artist services work in the state of Arkansas.”

The deadline to apply for the fellowship program is April 16. More information can be found at arkansasheritage.com.

Daniel Breen is a Little Rock-based reporter, anchor and producer for KUAR.