Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum (AAFF) today announced the move of its headquarters and operations to the new Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE) creative hub in Springdale — the former home of Arts Center of the Ozarks.
With support from the Tyson Family Foundation, CACHE took on operations of the collaborative arts space in early September with the goal of expanding equity, inclusion and expression across all artistic disciplines and Northwest Arkansas communities.
“CACHE is excited to have AAFF as the first anchor tenant occupying the space,” said Allyson Esposito, CACHE executive director. “AAFF has developed long lasting and deep connections with both the local Marshallese and Latinx communities in downtown Springdale. AAFF’s presence in such a historically important location provides the opportunity to expand these relationships and provides room to foster inclusive and culturally responsive creative programming in the new location.”
AAFF’s sewn goods production and administrative staff of seven will also headquarter out of the space. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAFF has largely pivoted its programming to focus on micro-batch sewn goods manufacturing, having made and donated over 10,000 fabric face masks for the local community. The accompanying #GetYourMaskOn social media campaign reached over 40,000 Arkansans and is one of the first public service campaigns launched to promote the importance of face masks use in the state.
“We are thrilled to be moving operations to such an important location” said AAFF CEO Robin Atkinson. “We envision downtown Springdale as a potential cultural epicenter for the region and will expand our programming and relationships to reflect the diversity of cultural production in the community.”
On Friday, Oct. 2, AAFF will launch a designer residency program titled “EMERGE” to focus on connecting local talent with nationally and internationally recognized professionals in the field of apparel design and fashion. The program will host a set of 11 fashion designers along with one “Designer in Residence” through Jan. 2021, with a formal presentation of the program’s production set tentatively for Feb. 2021 in the building’s theater.
AAFF has several upcoming activations, including a set of three drive-in style video screenings of previous NWA Fashion Week runway shows from years past. The events, called “Re-Runway,” will take place in the North parking lot on Oct. 9, Oct. 16, and Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. The events will be accompanied by a live DJ, along with food and beverage options. Masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced.
Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum is supported in part by educational program grants from the Walton Family Foundation and programmatic grants from the Tyson Family Foundation.