Jason Suel

Jason Suel

Actor, director, teacher, comic, emcee, TV host

Q. Five years ago, what effect did you want to have on the arts in Northwest Arkansas?

A. Five years ago, I was involved in various theater productions (both local and touring), I was teaching arts integrated lessons in local schools, I was doing improv, I was helping to organize events, I was dabbling in television and film, etc. Since then, I’ve been able to hone my skills of creating artistic community and focus them.

Q. How did that turn out?

A. I’m a big fan of saying: “Have a plan. Execute the plan. Learn from the experience. Repeat.” And it’s through that process that I have been operating. … I’m hopeful that I have been able to influence the scene in Northwest Arkansas by bringing awesome people together and strengthening communities. It’s also that process that has challenged me to continually improve. And what I would consider to be small successes have grown in size and volume.

Q. How did the TV thing come about? What all does it entail?

A. In 2018, I was asked to be the co-host of “Good Day NWA,” a daily lifestyle talk-show that airs on KNWA every day at 12:30 p.m. This came about in part from the success of my late night talk-show “Later with Jason Suel.” “Later with Jason Suel” was born at Fayetteville Public Television, and I really credit my producer Dan Robinson for helping launch that show that has meant so much to me personally and professionally. The trajectory of that show is that we had three seasons (a total of 24 episodes) that appeared solely on Fayetteville Public Television. … Then, we were approached by Fox 24 about finding a way to run the program on cable [which started New Year’s Eve of 2016]. …

Since launching “Good Day NWA” in April 2018, the show has really taken off. It has also blended many of my passions and given myself and the team a platform with which to showcase the arts, music, cuisine and culinary, nonprofits, local businesses, healthy living and the people that make Northwest Arkansas an amazing place to live and work. It’s all about community. … Every day, I am infused with a real sense of ‘people helping people’ through my involvement in this show.

Q. What else have you added to your plate since 2014?

A. Well, some things have been consistent. I remain a strong advocate through the arts with my role at Trike Theatre. A couple of years back I was promoted to the role of head of outreach within our company … overseeing our outreach programming and advocating for how theater strategies can assist teach curriculum content. We work on strengthening character traits like collaboration, grit, empathy, self-confidence and zest! I still perform regularly with improv comedy troupes Phunbags Comedy Improv and Rodeo Book Club. I still teach and direct plays for Trike Theatre and Arts Live Theatre. I am still on the board of Fayetteville Film Fest, showcasing the art of filmmaking. I also continue to assist and help produce plays through ArkansasStaged with my good friend and colleague, Laura Shatkus.

What I have added to my plate is that I now sing in Ultra Suede, one of the longest-running and most popular party bands in Northwest Arkansas. I have become a national arts integration consultant for Focus 5 (based in Washington, D.C.). Additionally, one of my favorite things that has come to be over the last few years is that I am called upon to host and emcee a variety of local fundraisers. … raising money for nonprofits both large and small throughout our region.

Q. What do you want to accomplish over the next five years?

A. Over the next five years, I’d really like to challenge myself to be bold. What that means to me is new ideas and projects. I envision a lot of laughter, perhaps some tears, a few failures, even more successes and meeting all the other sojourners who are making a difference in our world.

— Becca Martin-Brown


Categories: In The News