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story.lead_photo.caption Tamara Ryan Opera Fayetteville Founder and General Director

Tell us about your organization:

• Mission: At Opera Fayetteville, we've been committed to bringing the highest caliber contemporary opera to Northwest Arkansas for almost a decade. We take great pride in telling the stories of today in language that is immediate and accessible. We strive to create a work environment that is supportive, uplifting and just, because we believe that empowers our artists to do their very best work.

• Services provided: We launched a brand new project -- Postcards from Opera Fayetteville -- in August. We'll be releasing short videos every other week -- each one featuring an Opera Fayetteville artist singing a contemporary aria and talking a little bit about what the piece means to them as well as their experience with Opera Fayetteville, coping during the pandemic and other personal stories. We're hoping to create moments of beauty for our audience, while also connecting with new folks and keeping our artists working during this challenging time.

• Who is eligible? An online series isn't something we likely would have thought of before the pandemic, but it's a great opportunity to connect with pretty much anyone! Because we aren't limited to the capacity of a theater or concert hall, any number of people can enjoy these videos anywhere they happen to be. We hope this will be a way to stay in touch with our Opera Fayetteville family and also connect with people who may not yet be familiar with us.

We're particularly excited about the "bite-sized" nature of this project. It's been thrilling to see the way opera companies have been innovating in this time of distancing, and we've seen a lot of Zoom operas and other recorded projects. That can be an awesome way to connect with die-hard opera fans, but it's a pretty big commitment to ask of folks new to the genre, especially with such an abundance of streaming content available! These videos -- each around five minutes -- are easy to fit into a busy day and a really approachable way to try out contemporary opera for people interested in learning more.

• How can services be accessed? The videos will be released biweekly on our website (www.operafayetteville.org) as well as on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/operafayetteville) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/operafayetteville).

• What are your organization's most pressing needs? The best thing people can do to help us meet our goals is also one of the easiest -- spread the word! In an organization of our size, each share, mention and personal recommendation really adds up. Contemporary opera isn't always high on people's "to-do" list, but we hear again and again how much it means to them once they give it a chance. And your word means much more to your networks than mine!

• What other ways may people help? The performing arts tend to be hit hardest of all in times of crisis since we're not usually seen as a priority. Unfortunately, the long-term damage this causes to the arts sector may be almost impossible to recover from after the fact. If you're able to offer financial support to us or any of your other favorite arts organizations in the region -- we thrive most when we're all strong! -- you will be helping to protect the flourishing arts and culture of Northwest Arkansas for the future.

• Why do you work for a nonprofit organization? Do you have a personal connection to the mission? If so, what is it? Opera Fayetteville is my "baby," and it combines many of my deepest passions and beliefs. To be able to share the art form I've devoted my life to with the region that formed me is a great privilege, and I strive to live up to the responsibilities of that role. If I can inspire and empower others -- both the artists who work with us and the audiences who open their hearts to us -- then I've done my job as I see it.

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Opera Fayetteville

What: The group launched Postcards from Opera Fayetteville in August. The project is a bi-weekly video series featuring performances and discussion.

When: Through 2020.

Where: operafayetteville.org

Information: (479) 283-0804 or [email protected]

— Carin [email protected]

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