Gala for Education and Access

TheatreSquared hosted its annual Gala for Education and Access on June 3 at the Fayetteville Public Library. The event featured an outdoor cocktail hour with live music by Funk Factory. Guests were welcomed by Robert Ford and Martin Miller with TheatreSquared followed by a gourmet dinner by Event Group Catering and a performance by Tony Award Nominee Carmen Cusack throughout the evening. Nearly 400 people were in attendance. Guests honored Lynn and Dr. Joel Carver with the Arts Advocate Award for their dedication to arts and education. Pastor Curtiss P. Smith and Rev. Jacinda Smith were presented with the Community Impact Award for their service work with St. James Missionary Baptist Church. The Arts Educator Award went to Sarah Haman, the Lakeside High School theatre teacher. The Education Challenge was led by Carolyn Allen and raised $47,000 for arts in education outreach. In total, the event raised more than $165,000. This support will allow T2 to reach 20,000 students and teachers this year and support ticket access programs for 8,000 Arkansans.

Battle of the Banks


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas hosted the 4th Annual Battle of the Banks at Topgolf in Rogers on June 8. Hosted by David Erstine with CBRE and Somer Adams with Lindsey & Associates, the sold-out event was sponsored by Eagle Sponsor Signature Bank as well as several area banks. Teams joined together to battle for a chance to win top golfer, worst golfer or the team spirit award. The top golfer award went to Christopher Barton with First National Bank, worst golfer went to Nicole Gomez with Grand Savings Bank and the most spirit award went to First Security Bank for the 3rd year in a row. Through the event and donations, the organization raised $22,000, all of which will stay local to support new Big and Little matches in Northwest Arkansas.

2021 Reimagined Celebration


The Symphony of Northwest Arkansas celebrated its return to the Walton Arts Center on June 12 with the 2021 Reimagined Celebration after more than 15 months away. The string-orchestra concert in Baum-Walker Hall was conducted by Music Director Paul Haas and preceded a reception hosted by the SoNA Board of Directors — all in support and celebration of the upcoming 2021-22 Season. The musical program incorporated pieces by Gerardo Matos Rodriguez, Gustav Mahler, Aaron Copland, Erki-Sven Tüür, John Adams, Jose White and Béla Bartók. The selections included both contemporary and classical works all connected by a theme of passion — highlighting the organization’s passion for symphonic music and the visceral energy and emotion that come with live performance. The post-concert reception recognized the supporters who helped SoNA not just survive through the pandemic but thrive. Kicked off with a toast by Executive Director D. Riley Nicholson and Music Director Paul Haas, the reception featured fantastic jazz music by the Hogtown Hot Club and complimentary food and drinks sponsored by Duckhorn Vineyards and Liquor World.

Red, White & Baby Blue


On June 25, the Jackson Graves Foundation hosted their 17th Annual Red, White & Baby Blue event, presented by Collier Drug Stores and Adventure Subaru at The Botanical Garden of the Ozarks in Fayetteville. Approximately 100 people attended the event featuring live music from Amber and Kevin with special guest Ed Nicholson, a silent auction, and a raffle for a 74-quart cooler full of snacks and outdoor activities. The event also included remarks from founder and President Angie Graves and Executive Director Audre Darling. Nearly $25,000 was raised for the foundation’s projects, including the Audrey Harris Vision Neonatal Conference, the Stabilization Room at Washington Regional and the NICU Sibling Playroom at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.

Summer Soiree


The Cancer Challenge hosted its Summer Soiree event on Saturday, June 26 at the newly opened Heroncrest Event Center in Springdale. Approximately 400 guests attended the event sponsored by Presenting Sponsor Tyson and Entertainment Sponsor Hershey’s. This year, the Cancer Challenge is celebrating its 28th year and is proud of the $13.4 million invested in Northwest Arkansas for cancer care programs and services that provide critical services for people here in our community. Two annual Cancer Challenge awards were presented at the event. Vernon Solis was awarded Volunteer of the Year, and Ken Lassiter was awarded the Hidden Hero Award. With four hundred in attendance, the event exemplifies the teamwork and support of our donors, corporate sponsors, volunteers, partner organizations, staff and board members. The silent and live auctions combined raised over $40,000 to support local programs and services in Northwest Arkansas.