Seven years ago, on a whim, we at What's Up! thought it would be fun to spotlight some of the people we expected to change the Northwest Arkansas arts scene in 2014. Readers liked it. And here we are, still doing it!
There has never been a fixed list of selection criteria. The people we suggest you keep an eye on are those we think are making a difference and likely to continue to in the new year ahead.
Some know her as the voice behind NPR affiliate KUAF's "Of Note." Some know her as the co-founder of the Trillium Salon Series. Some know her as an arts and culture journalist and musician herself. However you know Katy Henriksen, you still may not know all the exciting moves she's made in service to the Northwest Arkansas arts scene. Read our interview with the arts journalist here.
The Momentary -- the visual and performing arts venue created as a sister organization to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art -- will officially open its doors in Bentonville this February, and at its helm will be Lieven Bertels, the executive director hired for the job in 2017. Read more about Bertels and the soon-to-open Bentonville arts venue here.
Brittany Allen may have come to Season 18 of Bravo's "Project Runway" from Austin, Texas, but we get to claim the Fort Smith native and University of Arkansas graduate as one of our own. Read more about Allen here.
Ben Meade moved to Arkansas only eight years ago, but in that time he's taken note of the artistic landscape. The musician and producer knows that music can be a service to the community, and in July, he opened Cosmic Cowboy Records -- the only analog studio between Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn. Read more about Meade and Cosmic Cowboy Records here.
Rebecca Rivas brings extensive expertise in developing and producing ground-breaking, politically relevant theater to her position as artistic associate at TheatreSquared. Read our interview with Rivas here.
As a grad student at the University of Arkansas, Austin Dean Ashford made an impact not only on the campus arts community but around the world with his one-man show "(I)sland T(rap)." Now he's pursuing a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University, and "(I)sland T(rap)" has carried his name far beyond academia. Read more about Ashford here.
Charlotte Buchanan-Yale says she "did not move to Arkansas to be somebody, to be with somebody or for a job. I just placed my intent to have purposeful work. It was a cosmic 'put me in, coach' request." Being the director of the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville is her dream job. Read more about Buchanan-Yale here.
Julie Gabel is a theatrical jack of all trades: She teaches, she directs, she acts, she designs -- and she's master of them all. Read more about Gabel and listen to our interview with her here.
As the director of sustainability and parking with the city of Fayetteville, Peter Nierengarten is the city point person for the Cultural Arts Corridor. In his position, he'll have a front row seat for a project that will change the landscape of 50 acres of Fayetteville from Dickson to Prairie streets. Read more about Nierengarten and his work here.
This summer, the Walton Family Foundation launched a regional arts organization (official name pending) whose mission is to become a conduit linking the rich arts and cultural tapestry of Northwest Arkansas. In July, arts administrator wunderkind Allyson Esposito came on board as executive director. Read more about Esposito and the organization here.
Previous years' lists:
In 2019, we looked back at five former nominees:
Missy Gipson, founder of Pilot Arts
Bryan and Bernice Hembree, founders of the Roots Festival
Jason Suel, founding host of "Good Day NWA"
Mark Landon Smith, founder of the Actors Casting Agency
Erika Wilhite, founder of Artist's Laboratory Theatre
Mark Landon Smith
Jenni Taylor Swain
Kelly & Donna Mulhollan
Sara Parnell Luetgens
Justin & Virginia Scheuer
Mark Landon Smith
Sons of Otis Malone
Amy Herzberg & Bob Ford
NAN What's Up on 01/12/2020
Print Headline: People To Watch