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Long-Term Benefits of Field Trips to the Walton Arts Center

Some exciting news came to Walton Arts Center this week: A recent study shows that field trips to Walton Arts Center can provide long term benefits to students! Last year alone, more than 50,000 students experienced the arts through programs like Digging Up Arkansas, the Colgate Classroom Series, and other master classes and activities with WAC performing artists.

In tandem with a study on the educational value of museum field trips conducted at Crystal Bridges, University of Arkansas researchers Jay P. Greene and Brian Kisida investigated the long term benefits of student field trips to Walton Arts Center.

More than 2,000 7th graders from around the area participated in a survey asking about their participation in cultural activities and their values like tolerance and empathy. The students’ answers were analyzed based on how many WAC performances they had been to throughout their school careers. 

For each field trip students took to WAC, there was a statistically significant difference in students’ desire to attend cultural events. And more than that, field trip participation increased student desire to participate in cultural activities, not just attend them. Also notable, the study found that students who participate in arts field trips are more tolerant and empathetic than other students. The study will help educators better understand the important benefits that field trips to arts institutions offer students.


Engaging the Community through the Artosphere Partner Grant

Although it seems like 2013 Artosphere just happened, here at Walton Arts Center we’re already getting excited for the 2014 Artosphere: Arkansas’ Arts & Nature Festival!

One of the most unique aspects of Artsophere is the way projects inspire and engage the community. The annual Artosphere Partner Grant helps fund artist projects that support the mission and theme of Artosphere (to celebrate artists, influenced by nature, who inspire us to live more sustainable lives).

This year, a total of $20,000 will be awarded among 1-5 2014 Artosphere Partner Grant winners.


In the last two years, the grant has funded several projects, including 2013 Artosphere’s The Herd and The Swarm by Tasha Lewis and Sun Boxes by Craig Colorusso.

Tasha Lewis’s installation of The Herd was placed in Walton Arts Center’s Cynthia H. Coughlin Gallery Lobby. More than 17 sculptures of antelopes, impalas and gazelles were sculpted from printed fabrics and featured emerging and disappearing into walls. More than 1,400 students and teachers were able to experience these majestic animals while visiting Walton Arts Center last Spring. 


For The Swarm, more than 1,000 butterflies were printed in various sizes with cyanotype on fabric and constructed with the help of community volunteers. Small but powerful magnets placed on their bellies allowed the installation to move around throughout 2013 Artosphere, appearing at multiple sites throughout Artosphere without leaving a trace. At each location, viewers were able to move the butterflies around the site, allowing them to both experience the project and help it evolve. In a final send-off of the installation, community members were invited to help the butterflies “migrate” by taking one or two of these beautiful butterflies home with them. We are certain they all found good homes.

The installation of Sun Boxes was created by Rogers-based artist Craig Colorusso. Each sun box is a solar powered speaker, operating independently and programed with a guitar note that plays on a loop. Together, the notes form a Bb chord, slowly changing and evolving over time because of the different lengths for each note’s loop. Listen here!  In a community yoga event held by Soul Yoga Lounge at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville, local yogis joined together to celebrate nature and practice yoga to the sunrise and the ethereal sounds of Sun Boxes.

The 2012 Artosphere Partner Grant also led to the Artist’s Laboratory Theatre’s production of “Alley 38,” a theatrical walking expedition through the uncharted places of downtown Fayetteville, and the installation “Karst” by Massey Burke, which still stands on West Avenue today!

 “Supporting artists that give the community new ways to think about art and nature is important for the vision of Artosphere. For the past two years, the Partner Grant Program has been successful in generating thoughtful and collaborative work and we look forward to reviewing new proposals that are challenging and exciting.” - Laura Goodwin, VP of Learning and Engagement at Walton Arts Center

If you are interested in applying for a grant, submissions are due November 1, 2013 at 11:59pm, and the award announcement will be made on December 1, 2013. To submit a proposal or learn more about the application criteria, click here. 

Program Evaluation Criteria:

  • Relationship to and support of the Artosphere Festival
  • Artistic quality
  • Degree of community involvement
  • Visibility – the estimated number of people who will experience your project
  • Projects must occur in Northwest Arkansas and be presented within May 1 - June 7, 2014 

Project ideas include but are not limited to:

  • Theme specific theatrical performances, musical performances, visual arts installations (indoor, outdoor, etc.)
  • Public improvisation activities, concerts or artistic expression
  • Community collaborations
  • “Festival within a festival”
  • Artosphere event enhancements (pre or post-show activities, events or experiences in support of Artosphere programming)

Save & Close

Creativity and diversity are highly encouraged in support of the Artosphere Festival. 



Welcome to NWA Jersey Boys!

Wednesday morning we held a Broadway Breakfast here at Walton Arts Center with not 1, not 2, not even 3, but all 4 of the Jersey Boys stars!

WAC's own Lydia Corbell took the stage with stars to facilitate a conversation about Jersey Boys and their roles. 

(L to R) Nicolas Dromard (Tommy DeVito), Jason Kappus (Bob Gaudio), Nick Cosgrove (Frankie Valli) and Brandon Andrus (Nick Massi).

The guys shared stories about all the work it took to get cast in Jersey Boys, their start in theater and the things to come! 

Nick Cosgrove, is living the dream! While in high school, he saw a production of Jersey Boys at the Bank of America Theater in Chicago, and realized that was what he wanted to do, and Frankie Valli was his dream roll! Now, at 25, not only is he playing Frankie Valli, but he was able to return to that theater in Chicago and perform for his family and friends.

But before there was even an opening for the roll, he had to audition through the intense "Frankie Camp" and be molded into the authentic Jersey personality. 30 actors go in, less than 10 potential Frankies walk out!

Both Jason Kappus and Brandon Andrus have been touring with this production of Jersey Boys since it started almost two years ago.

When Jason auditioned for the role of Bob Gaudio, he had to portray the character in front of the man himself! 

Brandon Andrus describes himself as the group's "resident tourist." As they tour from city to city, he likes to take time to see the sights, and what makes each area special. He's already got Hammontree's and Crystal Bridges on his radar for NWA!

Nicolas Dromard talked about working with a vocal coach so they could all master the true Four Seasons Jersey accent. They spent hours mastering the accent, going through their scripts so everything is phonetically accurate, and they even have CDs to listen to so they can keep their accents strong.

The cast all expressed their love for being part of such a great production, and the power of the audience to keep the show fresh and exciting for them week after week. Let's make sure to show them a big NWA welcome each night!

"Every night it's a ride from start to finish that we love being on," Nicolas Dromard said.

The show runs until Sunday, with two performances on both Saturday and Sunday, but tickets are going fast! Grab yours here, and for the best seating availability check out Sunday night!


Cookin' up good times with Jersey Boys!

Time is flying by, and now Jersey Boys is so close we can almost taste it! Or maybe that’s this Jersey Boys Meatballs recipe, full of garlic, cheese and everything nice. Leave it to a flavorful show like this one to get us excited with food! Hit up Spotify or the Jersey Boys website so you can rock out while you cook up some juicy Jersey magic! If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to grab your tickets for Jersey Boys, making its Northwest Arkansas debut Sept. 3–8!

Here’s some tasty trivia to go with your Jersey Boys Buffet! See how many you know! (Correct answers at bottom of post.)

  1. Which of these names did The Four Seasons use before making it big?
    • The Four Tenors
    • The Four Rays
    • The Four Lovers
    • The Four Felons
  2. How many awards did Jersey Boys win at the 2006 Tony Awards?
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  3. Where did The Four Seasons get their name?
    • A bowling alley
    • A restaurant
    • Vivaldi
    • Frankie Valli’s mother
  4. How many Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons songs are in Jersey Boys?
    • 5
    • 12
    • 19
    • 32
  5. What is the name of the actress in the Million Dollar Movie who inspired Bob Gaudio to write “Big Girls Don’t Cry”?
    • Evelyn Keyes
    • Claudette Colbert
    • Maureen O’Hara
    • Rhonda Fleming
  6. Approximately how many costumes are used in Jersey Boys?
    • 100
    • 250
    • 500
    • 743

If you try the recipe, come back and let us know how it went! Then check out Jersey Boys and get ready to say "Oh, What a Night!" 

Former Jersey Boys cast members with the Jersey Boys Meatballs. Photo via PerthNow, by Marie Nirme

Answers: 1. The Four Lovers, 2. 4, 3. A Bowling Alley, 4. 19, 5. Rhonda Fleming, 6. 500 costumes!


10x10 Arts Series Giveaway!

Here at Walton Arts Center we are eagerly anticipating the upcoming season! The shows on our 10x10 Arts Series are always audience favorites as they provide unique entertainment experiences with pre and post-show activities and conversations.

In celebration of the new season, we are giving one lucky audience member the chance to see all of the 10x10 Arts Series shows for free with our 10x10 Giveaway! It's super easy to enter - there's a Rafflecopter widget at the bottom of this post, just follow the steps & voila! You're entered! 

This season’s 10x10 Arts Series is a unique collection of music, dance and comedy. All of the shows on this series start at $10 per ticket. Here is a look at all the performances the winner of our giveaway, and all audience members will be enjoying this season:

AnDa Union 

Friday, October 4 at 8 pm

From Inner Mongolia, AnDa Union draws inspiration from Mongolian music that nearly disappeared during China’s tumultuous past. This acoustic group of 14 musicians and vocalists creates unforgettable rhythms with throat singing and traditional instruments including the morin khuur (a horse-hair fiddle) and the maodun chaoer (a three-holed flute).

AnDa Union

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Thursday, October 10 at 7:30 pm

Playing to sold-out houses world-wide, this Grammy®-winning quartet is one of the most multifaceted groups in any genre. Comprised of four accomplished guitarists (John Dearman, William Kanengiser, Scott Tennant, and Matthew Greif) who bring a new energy to the stage, their programs range from Bluegrass to Bach and guarantee a night of musical delight.

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

Mnozil Brass

Friday, October 25 at 8 pm

A brass ensemble like you’ve never seen before, Mnozil Brass is simultaneously an orchestra, ballet, chorus and ensemble of soloists. These seven musicians have been called the “Monty Pythons of music” due to their humor and comedic timing.

Mnozil Brass

Compagnie Käfig

Thursday, January 23 at 8 pm

Artistic director Mourad Merzouki is at the forefront of the international hip-hop dance scene. Käfig’s sensational double bill of Correria andAgwa showcases the all-male ensemble of 11 Brazilian dancers in an irresistible mix of athletic samba, hip-hop and capoeira dance styles, highlighting astonishing acrobatic skills and dazzling virtuosity.

Compagnie Kafig photo by Christopher Duggan

Chucho Valdes

Friday, February 14 at 8 pm

With five Grammys® and numerous other awards, Chucho Valdes is one of the most influential Latin musicians and jazz pianists ever. It’s a night for lovers, and lovers of jazz! 

Chucho Valdes


Friday, February 21 at 8 pm

LEO is an astonishing show that asks you to forget the rules of the universe and enter an entirely different world. This fantastical, witty one-man show from Berlin blends brilliant physical theater, acrobatics, and mind-bending animation, challenging perception of reality through the clever interplay of live performance and video projection.


Soweto Gospel Choir

Thursday, March 6 at 7:30 pm

The 24 member Grammy®-winning choir from South Africa is dedicated to sharing their faith and their music.  Some of Soweto’s most famous songs include Grammy®-winning “Baba Yetu (Our Father)” and the Oscar nominated “Down to Earth.” 

Soweto Gospel Choir photo by Tony Lewis

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Wednesday, April 23 at 7:30 pm

Based on audience suggestion, the Company creates a fully improvised play in Elizabethan style. Each of the players has brushed up on his “thee’s” and “thou’s” to bring you an evening of off-the-cuff comedy using the language and themes of William Shakespeare.

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

Trey McIntyre Project

Friday, May 16 at 8 pm

Trey McIntyre’s innovative and notably American brand of dance was called “amazingly fresh” by The New York Times. The evening will include a new ballet choreographed by Artistic Director Trey McIntyre, set to chamber music and premiering in spring 2014.

Trey McIntyre Project photo by Lois Greenfield

Time for Three with the Artosphere Festival Orchestra

Saturday, May 31 at 8 pm

The Artosphere Festival Orchestra under the direction of Corrado Rovaris headlines the 2014 Artosphere Festival with a program featuring Time for Three, the high-energy string trio that wowed 10x10 audiences in 2012 with their assortment of bluegrass, jazz, folk and hybrid styles.

Time for ThreeEnter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a chance to win tickets to all ten shows on the 10x10 Arts Series this season! We will choose a winner by September 25, and notify them by email. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway