30 Under 30

Not one, not two, but three of our team members have been inducted into the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) Foundation’s 30 UNDER 30 Class of 2018.

This recognition is given to 30 promising venue industry professionals ages 30 and younger who have illustrated their commitment to the industry and to furthering the operational and mission-focused goals of the venues they serve. 
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30 | Under | 30 Interview With:

  • Shannon Thomas, Events Manager

  • Meghan Foehl, Engagement Coordinator

  • Taylor Hight, Senior House ManageR

(Pictured left to right) 


What does being an arts professional mean to you?

"Working as an arts professional in the learning and engagement department means that I must continue to champion the value of the arts and arts experiences for all communities. Walton Arts Center’s commitment to providing quality arts education is at the forefront of our work - not just the learning and engagement team, but across every team here. For many students who come through our doors, this is their first and possibly only experience with performing arts. When they step foot into our atrium, their jaws drop and their eyes widen, and that sense of magic continues through the performance and until they finally climb back aboard their bus. My childhood was filled with arts experiences. My parents loved and supported the arts. My school teachers valued arts education opportunities, and my community was filled with venues that showcased theater. I am incredibly honored to be part of a team that works hard to champion arts education experiences in schools and to be part of a venue that is a cornerstone of our community. I hope that for even one child who comes through our doors we can imbue in them a love for the arts and a feeling of connection to Walton Arts Center." -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator

What project or success are you most proud of at Walton Arts Center? 

My proudest accomplishment is that I had the honor and privilege of reviving weddings at Walton Arts Center (WAC). In 2016, WAC completed a $23 million renovation to the facility, so the last wedding at WAC was in 2012. It now has the perfect settings and spaces to host a ceremony, reception or both! I am passionate about weddings because they are very exciting, stressful, emotional, and memorable days. I thrive in a fast-pace and ever-changing environment.  I was asked to take lead on coordinating the weddings that had been booked for 2017 until our new events manager was hired. I jumped at the opportunity! -Taylor Hight, senior house manager

How do you align with Walton Arts Center’s mission? 

"Specifically, what I love about my job is the ability to provide the ‘connection’ that is in WAC’s mission of  “connecting and engaging people through inspiring arts experiences.” When I bring artists into schools or community groups, I’m able to provide an arts experience outside of the traditional theatre and engage with new audiences who may never have considered Walton Arts Center as something they could be a part of or participate in." -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator

What does it mean to you to work at Walton Arts Center?

"It means everything to me! Growing up I would come see shows at WAC with my family. I left for school, gained experience in event management and then came back here after the renovation and there is this deep sense of community growth here. I get excited to share with people about where I work and what I do because I truly feel honored to work at WAC. Walton Arts Center is one of the best entertainment venues in the region and getting to work here with a huge tie to the community is beyond rewarding." -Shannon Thomas, events manager

What do you Appreciate about working here?

"Employee appreciation was clear from day one at WAC. I think that combined with the diversity of our staff with various backgrounds, knowledge and talent is really incredible. People are so creative and passionate about what they do. That’s an every day motivation for me.” -Shannon Thomas, events manager

What does the 30 Under 30 recognition mean to you? 

"Being a part of the 30 Under 30 Class this year is such an honor! I am thrilled that I get to represent Walton Arts Center on a national level and am really looking forward to learning more from my fellow classmates and colleagues on how we can continue to make WAC accessible to communities across Northwest Arkansas. " -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator

"I have prided myself on being adaptable and being able to take on whatever has been thrown my way. I’m sort of a jack-of-all-trades, and it allows me to learn something new every day. Personally, I was thankful to be nominated. Even if I didn’t receive the award, it meant a lot that I was considered, but actually being recognized has been an honor. There was a group of strangers who saw my potential - maybe more than I do." -Taylor Hight, senior house manager

"To me, this award means that hard work does pay off. I’ve always felt driven to push myself, having grown up in a family that taught the value in it.  This honor is mind-blowing to me, and it is is an achievement to know that the work I do and the hours I put in have been recognized at this level."  -Shannon Thomas, events manager

Any advice for new employees just getting started in this field?

"Sit in on every meeting you can – across departments, especially. It takes such cohesion to make a performing arts center run smoothly and learning the success and challenges of other departments has helped me to understand how I can better support my team, and also how we, as an organization, can continue to make Walton Arts Center a valuable resource and asset to NWA."  -Meghan Foehl, engagement coordinator
"Work hard. Learn something new every day even if it isn’t in your job description. Ask questions - LOTS of questions! Try something new. You work with and around people every day who have experience and are willing to teach." -Taylor Hight, senior house manager


Our Vision at Walton Arts Center

Walton Arts Center is proud to be a leader in arts education in Arkansas and the mid-South. By sharing program formats, ideas and results with other arts and education organizations in the state and nation, we strive to insure that arts participation is valued and supported by communities in and beyond Northwest Arkansas.

ARTOSPHERE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA- A Contemporary Take on Classical Music

The heartbeat of Artosphere, the Artosphere Festival Orchestra approaches classical music with a contemporary lens and fresh approach to reach audiences of all ages.

Going "Off the Grid" to bring music to audiences in downtown Fayetteville, Springdale and Siloam Springs, filling the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges with timeless notes surrounded by natural beauty, connecting live illustrations to a performance and a finale highlighting American composers - the Artosphere Festival Orchestra exceeds expectations!

Directed by Corrado Rovaris, music sirector of Opera Philadelphia, the Artosphere Festival Orchestra (AFO) was founded in 2011. Since its inception more than 90 world-class musicians from distinguished symphonies, chamber ensembles and music schools around the world travel to Northwest Arkansas to participate in the annual festival celebrating the convergence of arts, music, nature and sustainability. AFO musicians come from prestigious programs including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, National Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Chicago Lyric Opera Orchestra, Kansas City Symphony, Austin Symphony, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, New Mexico Philharmonic and Seattle Symphony to name a few. 

Artosphere's 2018 Festival includes six performances by the orchestra, each dynamic and unexpected. 


Mozart In the Museum

Friday, June 15, 8 pm 

From the Great Hall of the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Maestro Rovaris leads the Artosphere Festival Orchestra in the 6th annual Mozart in the Museum performance. This exceptional program features Jonny Greenwood’s Water; Mozart’s Flute & Harp Concerto featuring Marie Tachouet, flute, and Cheryl Losey Feder, harp, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 38 “Prague.” 


Presented in partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This program is sold out, but you can listen live on KUAF 91.3 FM or come to the Fayetteville Trail Mix where it will be broadcast in the Walton Arts Center's Bradberry Amphitheater.
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AFO: Off the Grid

Musicians from the Artosphere Festival Orchestra go off the grid, leaving the concert hall to perform their favorite music in bars, coffee houses and restaurants. Hang our and enjoy these musicians playing everything from Bach to Beyoncé in bars, restaurants and clubs in Fayetteville, Downtown Springdale and Main Street Siloam Springs!

Follow along on social media and the Artosphere app to find where performances are happening for each city.  

Off the Grid: Fayetteville
Thursday, June 21, 7pm
Dickson Street Entertainment District in Fayetteville

Off the Grid: Downtown Springdale
Friday, June 22, 7pm
Downtown Area in Springdale

Off the Grid: Main Street Siloam Springs
Friday, June 22, 7pm
Downtown Area in Siloam Springs

*Pop-up concerts are likely to happen throughout Artosphere- watch the Artosphere App for sneak peaks & surprise AFO performances throughout the festival event!


Artosphere Festival Orchestra

Beethoven Masterworks

Tuesday, June 19, 7 pm

AFO performs Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the Emperor Concerto, features Italian pianist Maurizio Baglini. Beethoven's piece is known for its grandeur and bold melodies and Baglini's talent will take this performance to another level. 

Maurizio Baglini, called the visionary nonconformist pianist, boasts a brilliant career as soloist, chamber player, music teacher and artistic director. As soloist he has performed on stages including the National Academy of Santa Cecilia, Teatro alla Scala of Milan, Teatro San Carlo of Naples, Salle Gaveau of Paris and the Kennedy Center. Baglini is also a guest of prestigious festivals, including Roque d'Anthéron, Yokohama Piano Festival, Australian Chamber Music Festival, "Benedetti Michelangeli" of Bergamo and Brescia.

AFO will also present Symphony No. 6, the Pastoral Symphony. This piece is musical tribute to nature and the country setting where the symphony was written. In a letter to Therese Malfatti in the summer of 1808, Beethoven said "How happy I am to be able to walk among the shrubs, the trees, the woods, the grass and the rocks! For the woods, the trees and the rocks give man the resonance he needs."  This performance will be illustrated and animated by French artist Grégoire Pont, whose visual imagery drawn live will accent Beethoven’s work and delight audiences of all ages.


The American Spirit

Saturday, June 23, 8 pm

A contemporary American sampler, this concert will captivate audiences with a performance of four completely different compositions by American composers, intertwined in a fast-paced and timely performance.

The iconic works by Leonard Bernstein, Overture to Candide and Symphonic Dances from West Side Story, move easily between established European traditions and those of American jazz and are mainstays of American musical theater.

The performance also includes Jennifer Higdon's Viola Concerto featuring Grammy®-winning violist Robert Díaz. This piece earned Brooklyn-born Higdon a 2018 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music with the committee citing the work as "a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism and dazzling virtuosity."  

The performance ends with John Adams' orchestral fanfare, Short Ride in A Fast Machine. After he had been commissioned to write the piece, Adams happened to take a ride in an Italian sports car, and that was the inspiration behind this piece.

"Short Ride in a Fast Machine is somewhat of an evocation of that experience which was both thrilling and a white-knuckle, anxious experience," Adams said. 


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