CACHE creates Social Hour to bring arts administrators together

CACHE creates Social Hour to bring arts administrators together

While Creative Arkansas Community Hub and Exchange, or CACHE, has always provided support and networking for artists in Northwest Arkansas, now they want to do the same for the busy folks behind the scenes. Their invitation reads:

“Social Hour gathers arts administrators — current and aspiring — for an hour-ish of food, drinks, conversation, and community development with each gathering focused on a different part of the arts and culture community.”

So what is an arts administrator?

“Arts administrators, although they look different in each discipline, what they all have in common is that they’re working behind the scenes on behalf of creatives everywhere,” says Kelsey Howard, director of Art Services and Strategic Partnerships for CACHE.

“They’re the ones that are providing resources. They’re providing support structures for projects. Often these roles are people who really deeply care about the arts, and also bring some business, some management, education, programming, fundraising [or] communication backgrounds,” she says.

The gatherings begin on Jan. 27 for dance professionals, which can mean anyone from a choreographer to a studio owner to the person selling tickets and promoting an event on social media. For the “Art Leaders in City Government” social hour, they are looking for people who work in government or with the Chamber of Commerce or downtown organizations.

“They’re essential for making the arts happen, and so we are bringing together arts leaders that are in this realm of city government, of community development, because we’ve seen evidence that when we bring Northwest Arkansas leaders together to collaborate and have a cohesive strategy about how to advance the development of arts and culture, it’s a lot stronger, and a lot more is likely to happen and to stick.”

Likewise, social hours based around music will be for people who produce music, own studios, work in tech, or even people with nonprofits like House of Songs or City Sessions that support local musicians. The same is true for visual arts and theater — the ticket sellers, tech specialists, front of house, and those who help artists, actors and playwrights to thrive by providing everything from materials to advocacy to space.

For the emerging professionals social hour, Howard says they want to bring together people who are trying to learn to navigate careers in the arts and nonprofit worlds.

“There’s just so many initiatives in the arts in this region, and a lot of different people make it happen,” Howard says. “If people are new and figuring out their place, it’s a nice way to be able to connect with other people who are also in that same stage of exploration. We’re hoping that we can help provide some community and network there.”

Howard says that the evening isn’t structured; there are no guest speakers or anything like that for now. The gatherings are just about sharing snacks, drinks and conversations.

The idea for these Social Hour events has been around since the early days of CACHE, she says, and is part of their aim to facilitate connection and then “get out of the way.”

“We see ourselves as an organization that is uniquely positioned to be an intermediary arts organization. By intermediary, I mean that we are an arts organization, but we are neutral in that we exist to work alongside other organizations — to cheer them on, listen to their needs, and bring people together — so that arts and culture in Northwest Arkansas can develop in an authentic and real grassroots way,” she says.

“People can come and just relax and unwind and enjoy very interesting and inspiring company.”



CACHE Social Hour

The Social Hour series is a chance for art administrators and people who provide support behind the scenes to come together for an hour and a half of snacks, drinks and conversations at the Medium in Springdale. Each social hour focuses on a different part of the creative community:

• Dance professionals, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 27.

• Arts leaders in city government, 4-5:30 p.m. Jan. 29

• Visual arts professionals, 4-5:30 p.m. Feb. 12

• Music industry professionals, 4-5:30 p.m. Feb. 26

• Arts leaders in communications and marketing, 4-5:30 p.m. March 4

• Emerging professionals, 4-5:30 p.m. April 15

• Theater professionals, 4-5:30 p.m. April 22

The events are free to attend, but registration is required at

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