Groups awarded $155,922 in annual fall A&P funding meeting

Teresa Maurer (left), of NWA Slow Food, talks with A&P Commissioner Justin Tennant about plans for a local food guide that will include lists of farms, farmers’ markets, restaurants, and other businesses who promote, buy and use local food.

Photo: Todd Gill, Flyer staff

Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commissioners awarded $155,922 to help fund 24 projects during their regular fall special funding discussion Monday afternoon.

Fall A&P funding amounts

 RequestedAwardedMore info
2013$421,980$261,880Story 1, 2
2012$293,115$145,328Full story
2011$388,745$182,828Full story
2010$737,295$222,176Full story

Source: Staff report

Twice each year, the commission awards funds to groups needing financial help with promoting or starting an event. The funds available depend on what’s left over from the commission’s budget, which is funded mostly by half of the city’s 2 percent HMR sales tax.

The commission had $196,209 to award on Monday, but voted to keep the remaining balance on hand to put toward future undetermined projects and one request which the group didn’t decide on today.

Topping the list of awards Monday was Weekend of Champions, whose organizers received $22,572 to support the 17th annual event which will feature baseball, soccer and softball games played in late May 2015 on the University of Arkansas campus.

Other top awards went to Fayetteville Underground ($20,000), TheatreSquared ($20,000), Fayetteville Roots Festival ($15,000), and Symphony of Northwest Arkansas ($15,000).

Listed below is a brief description of each event, along with amounts requested and received, and some remarks made by commissioners on Monday.

Fall 2014 – New projects requesting funds

  1. Alley Scholars Summit – Request: $19,000 | Award: $2,000
    The University of Arkansas will host the 2015 Alley Scholars Summit on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015. The all-day event features speakers, workshops and a career fair. Commissioners agreed to pay only the expected marketing costs for the event.
  2. Dudley Fast-Pitch Championship Series – Request: $8,000 | Award: $0
    NWA Legendary Sports would like to move its annual series of fast-pitch softball tournaments to Fayetteville next year. Commissioners agreed to remove this application from consideration because it was turned in after the due date.
  3. Fayetteville Square Dance – Request: $4,200 | Award: $600
    Allison Williams plans to host square dancing events on the last Friday of each month next year in the May Bell Music parking lot. Commissioners agreed to pay for the marketing budget, but not musician fees.
  4. Friends of the Fayetteville Parks Foundation – Request: $25,000 | Award: $0
    A group of citizens, including Phillip McKnight and Sarah Diebold, are forming an initiative called the Friends of the Fayetteville Parks Foundation to raise money to help the city finish building a 200-acre regional park. Commissioners said they would happy to help with any events that come to the new regional park, but they weren’t comfortable spending more HMR dollars to help with the park project itself.
  5. Little Free Library – Request: $6,450 | Award: $0
    The Ozark Literacy Council, NWA AIA, and the Fay Jones School of Architecture have partnered for a literacy outreach campaign to build at least 20 professionally designed Little Free Libraries to be placed in Fayetteville and the surrounding area. Commissioners said they love the idea, but they didn’t think the A&P Commission is the right channel for financial support.
  6. Mayfest in the Mountains – Request: $5,000 | Award: $0
    Rogers Rains explained that Mayfest in the Mountains would return May 1-3, 2015 at Hazel Valley Ranch, about 25 miles southeast of Fayetteville. Commissioners said while they like the festival, they weren’t convinced an event located outside the city limits fits the criteria for A&P funding. Other said the event encourages camping, which wouldn’t lead to local hotel revenue.
  7. Natural State of Health – Request: $5,000 | Award: $1,000
    The Natural State of Health will return May 2, 2015 to the Fayetteville Town Center. Commissioners said it was tough to justify the requested amount considering the small size of the event.
  8. NWA High School Basketball All Star Showcase – Request: $5,000 | Award: $500
    Byron Jenkins and Trandon Moy are planning the inaugural event, set for March 21, 2015 at Fayetteville High School. Commissioners said they had trouble finding out a lot of information about the event from groups they assumed the organizers would’ve already networked with. Others said if only local athletes are being showcased, there’s not a lot of opportunity for visitors coming to the area.
  9. NWA Local Food Guide Request: $8,000 | Award: $5,000
    Ozark Slow Food plans to print up to 10,000 copies of a local food guide to be distributed free of charge throughout Northwest Arkansas. The book will include lists of farms, farmer markets, restaurants, and other businesses who promote, buy and use local food. Commissioners said they like the idea a lot but couldn’t fully support the request.
  10. “On The Avenue” book Request: $35,000 | Award: $5,000
    Tony Wappel, Washington County Archivist and Records Manager, who published Once Upon Dickson: An Illustrated History, 1868-2000, has finished another book called, On the Avenue: An Illustrated History of Fayetteville’s US Highway 71B. Commissioners said they were impressed with Wappel’s past work, and added that visitors who read the book might be encouraged to see more parts of town after reading the new book.
  11. Ozark Mixology and Cocktail Conference Request: $10,000 | Award: $2,000
    Jeremey Brown said the inaugural craft cocktail event is planned for May 1-3, 2015 at The Chancellor Hotel in downtown Fayetteville. The free event will be similar to Tales of the Cocktail, held annually in New Orleans. Commissioners said they weren’t convinced the organizers’ attendance estimates would be realized, but said they wanted to encourage new events like this.
  12. Razorback Greenway Gran Fondo Request: $7,500 | Award: $2,500
    William Mertins and Michael Chaffin are planning a cycling event and food festival on Saturday, April 4, 2015 in downtown Fayetteville. The event will be similar to the Little Rock Gran Fondo and Pop on Main food festival. Commissioners said they felt like participants would spend money at hotels and restaurants while in town for the event, and that they wanted to encourage more new event organizers to apply.
  13. St. Patrick’s on the Hill Request: $5,000 | Award: $2,000
    St. Patrick’s on The Hill will return for its fourth year on Saturday, March 14, 2015. The event includes a parade followed by a festival on the downtown square with live music, a craft beer garden and a Stout Brewing Championship. Commissioners said they were very happy with the high attendance of the event last year, and wanted to help the festival grow even more in 2015.
  14. “Toast and Jam” Celebration Request: $25,000 | Award: $3,250
    KUAF plans to celebrate its 30th birthday on Dec. 12, 2015 at the Fayetteville Town Center. The event will include performances by folk, blues and jazz musicians. Commissioners said while the event wasn’t expected to bring a huge crowd, they wanted to provide a show of support for KUAF by donating the funds needed for the organizers to rent the Town Center building.
  15. UA Graduate Assistant Position Request: $18,750 | Award: $0
    The University of Arkansas would like to create a two-year graduate assistant position to assist the A&P Commission in handling special events in Fayetteville. Commissioners asked Executive Director Marilyn Heifner if she really needed the help from the UA staff. Heifner said she did not. The group decided not to donate any funds for this request.
  16. VoiceJam A Capella Festival Request: $25,000 | Award: $8,000
    The Walton Arts Center plans to host the inaugural event April 8-12, 2015 at several venues across the region including the Walton Arts Center, and public school facilities in Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville. Commissioners said they liked the idea of the event and wanted to provide some support, but agreed that the Walton Arts Center already has significant marketing resources available.

Fall 2014 – Returning projects requesting funds

  1. Ales & Tails Request: $19,400 | Award: $2,000
    Former A&P Commission members Brandon Karn and Maudie Schmitt requested another round of funds for advertising costs and promotional materials related to the annual event that benefits the ALS Arkansas Chapter in Northwest Arkansas. The beer and crawfish festival returns for its second year March 23, 2015 at the Fayetteville Town Center. Commissioners said they were pleased with the turnout of the first-year festival, and that they wanted to provide some support for the second-year event.
  2. The Art Experience, Inc. Request: $19,265 | Award: $5,000
    The Art Experience, Inc. would like another round of funds for next year’s Puppets in the Park event, set for Oct. 17, 2015. The group would also like help with its classes, groups and workshops next year. Commissioners said while some of the requested funds were set to be put toward other projects besides Puppets in the Park, they were OK with seeding infrastructural elements that could help the organization add to its capacity for more events in the future.
  3. Arts Live Theatre Request: $6,800 | Award: $2,000
    Arts Live Theatre requested another year’s worth of funds for the promotion of its main and second stage productions during the 2014-15 season. Commissioners said the organization is a great asset to the community and that they wanted to continue to provide support.
  4. Blues in the Natural State Request: $19,200 | Award: $7,500
    The Ozark Blues Society of Northwest Arkansas plans to continue its 12-year-old event April 2, 10 and 11, 2015 at various venues in Fayetteville. Commissioners said while the event is certainly successful, they wanted to wean the group off of A&P support a bit.
  5. Chilirhea Request: $5,250 | Award: $2,000
    Organizers of the annual Chilirhea chili cook-off requested $5,250 for free rental of the Fayetteville Town Center for the Feb. 28, 2015 event, which aims to donate all proceeds to Alzheimer’s Arkansas and the Alzheimer’s Association. Commissioners said they love the idea behind the event, but want to send a message that longstanding events should be using revenues to help prepare for the following year’s event. Because of that the group said they wanted to trim the award amount down a bit from the previous year.
  6. Community Creative Center Request: $15,000 | Award: $10,000
    Community Creative Center officials are seeking another round of support for their annual marketing initiative, which includes raising awareness of CCC, increasing classes, and attracting artists to its studio spaces. Commissioners said they like the fact that the request is for a yearlong series of events, but agreed to trim the funding award down a bit from the previous year.
  7. Fayetteville Roots Festival Request: $45,000 | Award: $15,000
    Organizers of the annual Fayetteville Roots Festival would like another year’s worth of help promoting the 2015 event, set for Aug 27-30 at various venues around town. Commissioners had a long discussion regarding the Fayetteville Roots Festival. The group said while the event is one of their favorite festivals to emerge, it was only fair to begin reducing the amount of funds distributed now that the festival is in a position to support itself.
  8. Fayetteville Underground Request: $40,000 | Award: $20,000
    Fayetteville Art Alliance requested another $40,000 for a third year of funding to support operational expenses at the Fayetteville Underground. The longest discussion of the day was centered around Fayetteville Underground’s request. The group said the organization had done a poor job of managing commissioners’ expectations, and noted that they were told last year would be the final major request from the organization due to its new status as a non-profit which would allow the Underground to seek out grants. Some said that the funding awards for arts groups should get smaller and smaller each year just like festivals, but some commissioners argued that organizations like Fayetteville Underground contribute to the city’s brand infrastructure and should automatically qualify for A&P funding because of that contribution alone. Some commissioners suggested the group consider adopting a new policy that earmarks funds for the arts early in the year before doling out leftover funds. That idea sparked another long discussion and the group agreed to revisit the idea in the future.
  9. Hogeye Marathon Request: $10,000 | Award: n/a
    Hogeye Marathon officials are back after a few years on their own. Organizers of the race, which begins on the Fayetteville square and finishes in front of the Walton Arts Center, said they need help competing with the Bentonville Half Marathon which is scheduled on the same weekend of March 28-29, 2015. Commissioners said they wanted to see a full and complete application from the event organizers before deciding how much money to donate. They agreed to ask Executive Director Marilyn Heifner to request full financial statements from the organizers and to reconvene later this year to decide if any funds would be distributed.
  10. Iron Pig Festival Request: $3,500 | Award: $0
    All Sports Productions’ first request is for the Iron Pig Festival, set for April 4, 2015 at the Fayetteville Executive Airport. Commissioners agreed to remove this application from consideration because it was turned in after the due date.
  11. Joe Martin Stage Race Request: $10,000 | Award: $0
    All Sports Productions’ second request is for the Joe Martin Stage Race, set for April 23-26, 2015 in downtown Fayetteville. Commissioners agreed to remove this application from consideration because it was turned in after the due date.
  12. NWA Juggling FestivalRequest: $1,725 | Award: $1,000
    NWA Juggling Festival organizers asked for a second round of funds to help support the 21-year-old event, set for April 10-12, 2015 at The Juggling Space, Yvonne Richardson Community Center, and Devil’s Den. Commissioners said they like the festival, but wanted to trim the funding amount down a bit from last year.
  13. Ozark Valley Triathlon Request: $5,500 | Award: $0
    All Sports Productions’ third request is for the Ozark Valley Triathlon, set for June 20-21, 2015 at Fayetteville Athletic Club and Lake Wedington. Commissioners agreed to remove this application from consideration because it was turned in after the due date.
  14. Renaissance Faire of the Ozarks Request: $15,000 | Award: $2,000
    Organizers of The Renaissance Faire of the Ozarks would like another round of funds to help promote their event, set for April 18-19, 2015 at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Commissioners said they like the festival, but wanted to trim the funding amount down a bit from last year.
  15. SoNA/Symphony of Northwest Arkansas Request: $25,000 | Award: $15,000
    Symphony of Northwest Arkansas officials would like another round of funds promoting its annual concert season of classical and pops repertoire. Commissioners questioned the level of return the A&P would see from being listed as a sponsor, but then decided to fund $15,000 to be a “season partner.”
  16. Theatre Squared Request: $40,000 | Award: $20,000
    TheatreSquared officials requested another year’s worth of promotional funding for continued marketing outside the state. Commissioners had a long discussion regarding TheatreSquared’s request. The group compared it to the Fayetteville Roots Festival and said that the organization has a high attendance record with a noticeable record of bringing people to town, but said that it was only fair to treat all festivals in a similar fashion in regards to reducing funding amounts as an organization grows and becomes sustainable.
  17. Washington County Fair Request: $53,910 | Award: $0
    The Washington County Fair Association requests money to repaint all the buildings on the Washington County fairgrounds, which are used throughout the year in partnership with events like Bikes, Blues & BBQ and the Wal-Mart Shareholders Meeting. Commissioners said they weren’t comfortable continuing to provide funding for infrastructural improvements at the fairgrounds. The group said they would rather encourage organizers to apply for funds for specific events at the fairgrounds.
  18. Weekend of Champions Request: $22,572 | Award: $22,572
    Fayetteville High School would like support the 17th Annual Weekend of Champions baseball, soccer and softball event, set for May 23-23 on the University of Arkansas campus. Commissioners agreed to fund the full requested amount for this event. The group said it had the most potential for a return of investment due to its high attendance record and history of filling hotel rooms.