When you think of sustainability at Walton Arts Center, you may immediately think of Artosphere: Arkansas’ Art + Nature Festival. And yes, Artosphere is our week-long event showcasing the power and influence of nature with programming focused on inspiring more sustainable lives.
But here at WAC, sustainability is part of our day-to-day decisions to be environmentally conscious and resource savvy.
Our year-round sustainability efforts
The introduction of Artosphere in 2010 launched an organization-wide sustainability effort at Walton Arts Center, which continues to evolve. Our Sustainability Committee – made up of staff from all departments – creates and implements a variety of environmentally conscious initiatives designed to help save resources throughout WAC.
These efforts include integrating more energy-efficient technologies and sustainable practices into our operations and work environment, including:
Storm Water Collection
Storm water from the roof is routed to our bioswale, which treats the water through the soil before releasing it into the storm drain.
High reflectivity roofing helps keeps the building interior cooler and requires less energy for air conditioning. Daylight features in Starr Theater and McBride Studio give use the option to use natural lighting for some events, instead of powered lights. High-efficiency plumbing and lighting fixtures are used throughout the building, and eco-friendly cleaning materials that have less impact on the environment are used organization-wide.
Robust waste management and recycling programs are in place year round, including the recycling of toner and ink cartridges, batteries, used electronics, paper, plastics and glass.
In addition to recycling, we have reduced the source of waste by striking disposable water bottles from all artist contracts and offering reusable bottles and ultra-filtered water from bottle fillers. In five years, we have eliminated waste from over 12,000 disposable plastic water bottles alone. WAC also introduced the souvenir cup in 2017 to replace soda bottles in the concession stand. Souvenir cups can be sanitized and reused.
In 2018, WAC introduced banner bags, reusable tote bags, made from upcycled show banners that used to hang outside Walton Arts Center.
In addition to collecting and recycling used batteries, the WAC Production Department keeps all old batteries that have been used in wireless microphones during a production. These batteries are tested to see if they have enough juice to be reused internally for flashlights, soap dispensers, wireless keyboards and other purposes.
We have eliminated disposable cups for coffee and water from our campus. In their place, glasses and ceramic coffee cups have been provided for guests and staff.
Additional racks have been installed around the Walton Arts Center campus to encourage cycling to and from events.
We have a number of practices in place for managing food waste.. We provide opportunities for our staff and volunteers to take food home, and we donate nonperishable and unspoiled food left over from events to local organizations that feed people in need. A composting program is in place to collect any remaining food waste that is no longer edible (including flowers).