Amplify Music Communities

Northwest Arkansas, USA

Our Northwest Arkansas Speakers

Anthony Ball

Anthony Ball

Smoothman Music Production; Professional Drummer; Marketing Consultant

Lia Uribe

Lia Uribe

Associate Professor at University of Arkansas; Principal Bassoon

Troy Campbell

Troy Campbell

The House of Songs NWA; City of Songs TV Series; Collection Agency Films, LLC

Read Northwest Arkansas's Transcript

Storm Gloor 0:09
Amplify Music Communities is a global continuation of our Amplify Music Conference in which we take a journey around the world to take a look within the music ecosystems of various cities, states and regions. We’ll hear what’s happening at the ground level from leaders in these communities. And today we’ll visit with three leaders from Northwest Arkansas, here in the US. We have with us today Troy Campbell, Executive Director of House of Songs, Lia Uribe, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Music from the University of Arkansas. And Anthony Ball, Program Director of Music Moves. Welcome, all of you folks from Northwest Arkansas. It’s great to see you and we’ll start with Lia. Lia, tell us a little bit about what your role is in the music ecosystem there in Northwest Arkansas.

Lia Uribe 1:01
Absolutely. Thank you so much for this opportunity, how exciting to be among these amazing leaders in the area. I am a bassoonist by training. And one of my jobs right here at the university is being the bassoon professor. But for the last few years, I have a step into other roles one of them being administration. As Associate Chair, I lead with many other, I lead many other initiatives. And in the community I am also active with organizations like the Walton Art Center in which I co-chair a diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. I serve in CACHE at some capacity on the advisory board. I work with Mid-America Arts Alliance and Artist INC providing professional development for artists and I work with our NPR affiliate, KUAF, with a show of classical music and other musics that center programming around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that’s kind of the theme that connects all of my doings: how to diversify and represents the identities that I carry with me.

Storm Gloor 2:06
Great. Thank you. Troy?

Troy Campbell 2:09
Hi Storm, thanks for having me. I guess my role, if I want to look at it close enough is that the Sherpa for bringing international artists together with regional artists here and trying to cultivate that relationship so that we not only increase import, but we exponentially create export, which is what my goal was in Austin and my goal is here; is how do we get artists to a point where they can export themselves as a commodity, but also Northwest Arkansas as being perceived as inviting to creatives as well, too.

Storm Gloor 2:43
Excellent. Excellent. And Anthony, how are you?

Anthony Ball 2:46
Hey, I’m good, man. Thanks for having me, Storm. So I’m a musician by trade. I’m a percussionist. But I run two organizations, Music Moves is our nonprofit, we promote black African American music history. We amplify that through performance and curriculum. We’ve, last year, we’ve created a curriculum that goes into schools K-12. So that’s something we’re really excited about. And as well, I run a for-profit business, Smoothman Music Production. We’re a booking agency primarily in the private sector, we contract about 40 to 50 musicians every year, most primarily in the private sector. I’m a musician, and I promote, you know, musicians and I’m a huge advocate for the arts.

Storm Gloor 3:42
Awesome. Well, all of you are absolutely making contributions to the great things happening there in Northwest Arkansas. So it’s a pleasure to have you all here today. I want to start by asking you all, let’s provide a little bit of context for anyone listening or watching this. Let’s talk about the unique features of Northwest Arkansas’s music community and the geography and all of that and how it impacts music. Lia, you want to speak to that?

Lia Uribe 4:13
Absolutely. So I come to these, you know, I came to Northwest Arkansas in 2013 when I was hired by the University in the music department, and I came specifically to take this role in the world of classical music. I also play with our regional symphony orchestra, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas. But since I have a deep interest always had in connecting with community. And I realized that the university on top of the hill was a little disassociated with the, you know from the other happening, so through reaching those connections I have found the richness. Not only musical genres, but also diversity in different communities that we find all over and also the very unique characteristic of the area that is not only Fayetteville, the city where I am based on, but also Springdale and Rogers and Bentonville, and everything in between each of these towns with its own identity, and richness, but altogether, this very, very fruitful and, you know, diverse area. So that’s one of the characteristics that I, you know, I appreciate about this area, and of course, back to my identity as a classical musician, that diversity is within the classical music and contemporary music, newer degrees and offerings and the roots, movements and everything in between as well.

Storm Gloor 5:41
Thank you. Troy, what are your thoughts on that?

Troy Campbell 5:43
What do you think? Yeah, well, we it’s unique that we’re at the foothills of the the Ozark Mountains, and I grew up in the Appalachians in Southern Ohio. So when I first got here, to do a film, actually, it felt really cozy to me. So part of the geography that I see is, unlike anything, I was a touring musician, so I would play everywhere, but this area, historically, prior to this, because there weren’t a lot of venues except for Fayetteville. And I’m finding more and more people are finding inroads and being more attracted to the area. So in terms of geography, I think it reminds me of Austin when I was there in 1990.

Storm Gloor 6:22
Cool, cool. And Anthony, what are your insights on that?

Anthony Ball 6:28
Yeah, so much towards what Troy mentioned, this is the Ozarks. So that’s a huge part of who we are. We love outdoors. Roots music is huge in this area. I’m originally from- I’m an Arkansas boy through and through, originally from the eastern side of Arkansas, West Memphis, Arkansas, where, you know, black gospel, you know, blues is really, really huge. So, roots music is really, really huge in our area. And when I came here-, I just saw-, I came here in 2007 to go to school, I had a degree to, well I has a scholarship to go to UVA. And there was just a huge appetite for music. There were so many bands that I saw when I was-, when I when I first came here, you could find funk bands and rock bands, bluegrass. But I was introduced to so much, so many different forms of entertainment. And somehow, you know, that went away, the diversity of it, I feel but the appetite for it increased and is increasing. So that’s kind of Northwest Arkansas. You know, it’s the Ozarks and we love our roots music.

Storm Gloor 7:58
And I understand that Northwest Arkansas, at least last I heard, was a quickly growing area there. Right. And you all are probably you’re probably experiencing that personally. So it’s good to hear that it sounds like the music ecosystem is growing right along with it. Is that a fair statement?

Anthony Ball 8:20

Storm Gloor 8:23
What’s that, Lia?

Lia Uribe 8:25
I was just saying, I was a student at the University of Arkansas in the early 2000s. And when I came back, you know, 10 years later I found a completely different scene, you know, in every aspect of the region itself. And, you know, the music industry and the developments is amazing.

Storm Gloor 8:43
Very good. Now, let’s talk about the remainder of 2021 and into 2022. What actions and impacts do you think you’re expecting over that period? And what trends are you seeing that are promising for the area? Or are there any trends that worry you among those? And I’ll open this up to anyone who wants to address that question.

Anthony Ball 9:09
I’ll step in. I think one of the trends that I’m really really excited about; I think one of the silver linings of the pandemic has pushed all of us outside. And one of the things that I’ve kind of always kind of tested was doing earlier shows. When I was in college, my shows were started 9:00 and 10:00 at night. And that was amazing too. I was a 19-20 year old. But now as a dad and I have a family and all of my friends are as well. You know, like I also understand that those people still want to go out and experience live entertainment in the arts. So and with the beautiful greenery in the rolling hills that we have in Northwest Arkansas, outside shows have become a huge trend in Northwest Arkansas and people are just consuming music in a different way. It’s just not the bar, or the theater. People are going under tents and pavilions in the downtown areas, and experiencing music all over the place. And I’m hoping and I’m kind of banking on that not going away, because we love, like I said, we love our outdoors in Northwest Arkansas.

Lia Uribe 10:24
Yeah, I kind of want to follow up on that, you know, we’re not the same. I mean, I have changed as a person, we have changed as an ecosystem because of the pandemic, because of all of these conversations around the killing of George Floyd and these important conversations about reorganizing and rebalancing societies and who has access to what, who is represented in the programming we do. So I have seen in my own organization, and the ones that I frequent or participate in, deep questioning inside. And those questions have kind of guiding some of the decisions, perhaps not to the extent that I would like to see it, but at least the beginning of changes, so for example, Symphony of Northwest Arkansas is being really proactive, creating opportunities of chamber music and sample concerts that are curated by minority musicians that is highlighting the music of, you know, traditionally marginalized composers or historically marginalized composers. So there’s a consciousness underlying that, of course, many of us that have been affected by the inequalities are moving and supporting and waiting for them to happen. But there’s some consciousness at the bottom of all of these decision making filtering, programming artists, guest artists, access, what communities do we want to be involved, how do we want to reach out to them? So there’s for sure, important change happen in that regard.

Troy Campbell 11:57
Yeah, I agree with both my colleagues that that desire and mix with outdoor culture here, which is really driving and thriving here, just the ability to see that those folks coming in and the folks that are benefiting our audience, really, so the artists have more opportunities. And during this last year, there’s been the move to the to doing things in new untraditional ways, you know, or traditional ways that had been not visited in a long time. So, you know, mobile concerts, concerts that are outside of homes, this is bringing our community together out of just the desire to find a way to be together. And that’s, that’s really hope, that’s hope giving as an artist myself, that people will go to any length, when prior to this, it felt like you know, it was pulling teeth sometimes to get people to come out to a show unless you really, really spent a lot of time focusing the message that was going to get across or the artists was just so undeniable. And it wasn’t just a touring artists, but it was one of our some one of our many truthful, tough artists that live here.

Lia Uribe 13:06
If I may add to that, that’s such a beautiful discovery that we have found re-connecting with local artistry. And in fact, a part of that was the need because we couldn’t have people coming and touring, right? So we had to tend to that richness and that treasure that we had available for all of these years that we were overlooking. So really redefining community in terms of our diverse community that attends but also our community of local artists.

Storm Gloor 13:35
Excellent, excellent. Well, that’s great to hear. And such a positive direction everything’s moving, in certainly a negative situation and thinking beyond even, you know, early 2022, when when you look really long term, if you can break out the crystal ball; what successes or boosts or obstacle removals might make a big difference in your music community. And again, I’ll open that up to anyone. For the longer term, what does that look like?

Troy Campbell 14:10
Yeah, longer term. I’m hopeful there’s, you know, there’s once again be, there’ll be a surge of people needing to play and tour and go and the local artists have a little better platform, or a little better awareness, like Lia was saying, which to me is all that some artists need. They just need to be seen. And they will do the rest. I mean, that’s how art should work. Right? It should speak to you. So I’m looking forward to some of these things but some of the barriers will be complacency. And so that worries me that people will lay back and they’re so traumatized by the last year that they’ll stop going out to things but I think there’ll be an initial push. And what we do with that is probably the most important thing. What we do with that information and the way people are driven will define how we as artists or arts leaders run up ahead of that movement of people and cheer them, rather than trying to pull them to the side to what we’re doing? You know, one day we won’t need as many music nonprofits. In Austin, Texas, where I was from there was a statement at one of the meetings, it was, we have over 130 music nonprofits, and I said, are you bragging, that just makes me depressed that we have to do that. There should be focus. Those nonprofit, we should be working together and that’s what I see as hopeful here is that we do have an umbrella like CACHE, or even the Walton Family Foundation, or any number of organizations that are looking over the big picture, making sure, for example, the three of us have the tools we need, you know, and the room we need to try to solve the problems from the ground.

Storm Gloor 15:50
I see.

Lia Uribe 15:50
Yeah, I want to add, the role of the university is growing and organizing knowledge and providing opportunities for a new way of embracing music. And we have gone also, we had the opportunity to reflect upon ourselves and the offerings we have, and the needs to, you know, formalize, and offer opportunities for students that want to enter music industry in order to have the tools in hand that we can provide to them, or other styles of music. So we’re also reconsidering our role. Obviously, we want to hold to the things that we know very well, but we want to expand to serve these many changes of the music in general, and especially our community. Going through with what Troy said, the creation of CACHE was such an important, has been such an important change in our community is a place that reminds us on regular basis, the importance of diversity in our interactions with local artists and organizations, and way for us to regulate as well. So no one organization has all the power, it’s like we are connecting, we are collaborating, we are working together.

Anthony Ball 17:02
I know I know, one of the things that I’m looking at really closely, but in Northwest Arkansas we subsidize art a lot. This is kind of, towards what Troy mentioned, with having so many different nonprofits. I don’t want to get to a place to where we don’t understand the value of art because it’s been subsidized. That’s kind of the blessing and the curse of what we’ve experienced in Northwest Arkansas. Cause I know, you know, I’ll have one of my bands go to you know, George’s Majestic, that’s like our House of Blues here. We’ll go here and we’ll charge 10 bucks for cover, but you’ll go to the AMP (Arkansas Music Pavilion), and you’ll pay 10 bucks for a Grammy artist as well, too, you know. And, you know, I don’t want to get to the place to where we don’t appreciate the music as well. Because what we know about art is, art, the best art, especially coming from the black community it’s always come from a movement of emotions of some sort, it’s never come from, you know, from a grant or, you know, how much the ticket price is. You want to make sure, I guess I want to say you want to make sure it’s authentic, you know, the artist is authentic, and the audience as well, they’re authentic. And what we’re doing and in our in our roles in this ecosystem as well too.

Storm Gloor 18:42
And Anthony, you mentioned George’s Majestic Lounge, a storied venue in Fayetteville. I know that for sure. But for our listeners and viewers, you might even you mentioned the Amp. You want to give everyone some context there for what the AMP is?

Anthony Ball 19:01
Yeah, so that’s like our amphitheater here. I guess it’s been here for like, it’s been here for a long time in a smaller capacity. But they’ve just built a beautiful, theater outdoors, it fits I think up to 7000 people. And they bring everybody from, I think Pitbull was just here, for the young kids out there Trippie Redd was just here. We got George Strait, Common, just amazing artists. Again, that you would normally not see in an area that’s as small as Northwest Arkansas, but that’s one of the blessings of having such a rich, you know, foundation, like the Walton Foundation and other, you know, the other, you know, larger foundations that’s in our area that brings that level of support to the arts in Northwest Arkansas.

Lia Uribe 19:56
Yeah, and the AMP it’s a satellite place for the Walton Arts Center. So the same organization that brings Symphony and Broadway shows, and jazz and other shows to the stage also runs the AMP to bring opportunities for the larger community. And again, speaking as a member of the board of the Walton Arts Center, it’s a great interest of us to mediate those two, you know, very different venues and make sure that we reach to these huge audience through our Broadway and our symphonic and educational programs, and we bring these to the larger community as well. So that’s been a good question for us to try to answer; how do we take inspiration from each one of these sites and reach out in a very legitimate way with different programming to the different audiences?

Storm Gloor 20:50
Interesting, and Lia, you mentioned, again, that you are on the board of the Walton Art Center. But you also mentioned earlier that you are on the board of CACHE and that word has come up a couple of times. Let’s talk about CACHE real quick. Again, for context, what what is CACHE? And what are they doing in your community?

Lia Uribe 21:10
I just want to clarify that they have a provisional board, advisory board. They are in the process of restructuring everything. So I’m not like an official board member, but I have served in conversations in trying to define the direction of CACHE and CACHE, does anybody know the acronym for that? Or do I have it here? Gosh, oh, gosh. It’s the Creative Arkansas Community Hub and Exchange. And the idea is to have a hub, like the name indicates, where all artists from the area can, you know, connect. So they have programming, they have resources. There’s resources with all the information. They’re working on the creation of a calendar. They have moved initiatives to provide grants within the context of COVID and after as well for local artists that suffered because of lack of opportunities to work. They have residencies, the one that I can think of is Murs, a hip-hop artist based in California, that is coming on a monthly basis to work with musicians of any level interested in, you know, hip hop or anything like that, you know, finding their path as artists. They also provide support professional development for artists and projects. So if there is a call for public art, they not only provide, you know, the request for qualifications, they also help artists in how to apply for those initiatives, how to put together a resume and, you know, artists statement. So all of these things that can be to all artists the type of information we don’t get clearly or takes a long time to take in our life experience, right, or at school. So you know, providing that support to artists from every aspect of the things we do. So very important organization really is changing dynamics, within our community.

Anthony Ball 23:20
CACHE is the largest toolbox you can have in your community to help your artists, and people that want to put on artists. That’s what I’ll put it in, it’s the largest toolbox of many great individuals that help us do what we do.

Lia Uribe 23:36
And creating that sense of community, right? Because we feel isolated. Many times I have felt isolated as an artist, but having a place where I can, you know, collaborate with my fellow, you know, Anthony Ball and his program or go visit Troy and House of Songs and know that we exist and we know each other and we can partner at many levels at any time because we know we know each other.

Storm Gloor 24:00
What a great asset to have, an organization like CACHE. And you all talk a lot about the creators and the artists it supports. What about music industry participants who are not artists or creators in your community? What programs or support systems do you have for those folks? Any that you can think of?

Anthony Ball 24:22
You know what, you mentioned that and I’ve never heard anybody ask that question. That was a really, really good question. When I saw that this morning, and I really couldn’t come up. I think that that may be the next step we would have in Northwest Arkansas. And I think that kind of goes towards my last, you know, comment about how do we build authentic artists, artists community, and authentic consumer community as well too. You know, because, all right, like now, you know, we mentioned off camera that we all linked up at, in Lafayette, we went to, it was called…

Storm Gloor 25:10
The Music Cities Convention.

Anthony Ball 25:12
Music City Convention, it was the most amazing conference I’ve ever been to, it was so empowering. And I never looked at music as a tool to build up a community. You know, I’ve always had the saying that music is the soul of a community. But I never went the next step to look at it as a tool for the community to do whatever you want it to do. You know, so I think, I love that you asked that question that just makes me think a little bit deeper about what we do. And I’m definitely going to focus on that moving forward.

Storm Gloor 25:52
Lia, I’d imagine you have students who are…

Lia Uribe 25:55
Absolutely, and I, you know, from the university perspective, that’s something that has been embedded in our, you know, search for new offerings, and formalized offerings. So our students, we’re actually in the process of, you know, revamping our or really maybe changing the direction of the music business degree, we have been offering the concentration in music business, and really be able to eventually offer a music industry degree or certification or something like that to serve our students. So that’s something that we we have the, you know, the advantage of the university, as you know Storm, also from your school of music, is that we have these bright minds, you know, doing research and really at the forefront, we should be at the forefront, of what is needed in music, right? So capitalizing on all of these, the human resources that we have, and also all the resources that the university provides for research and such, how can we add from that perspective to our music ecosystem? I’m also thinking that part of the music industry is those conversations like Anthony mentions, you know, the power that music has to influence platforms to rebalance, you know, roles. I run a music series called RefleXions that is supported by the university and RefleXions music series, uses music as an excuse to talk about creative and social justice. So we bring artists to have conversations with our local artists, and students and arts organizations, to provide examples of how we can disrupt the system. And at the same time, we offer excellent concerts in any genre of music, we can also represent through them programming, we can also, you know, provide opportunities for social impact, when we go to places with our music can affect our community. So that’s also the effect of this music industry. And that idea that is more than the concert experience is more than the entertainment, you know, experiences these other powers that we need to be versed on.

Troy Campbell 28:05
I think when you, the question as you look at it, it’s hard for us in an area that when you’re asking music participants, so coming from some other areas where that instantly means ecosystem, to me, it’s the people that work at the bars, the people that do the sound, the people that are the agents, the club owners, every part of the ecosystem. We were initially in the last few years, just addressing the fact that how do we get attention to musicians? How do we find a way to get someone to want to open a venue? You know, how do we want to be something more than a pass through? You know, if that. So we were really digging into that question and starting to understand that. And when the pandemic hit it started isolating us, but we started hearing the voices. And we started understanding who was affected. It wasn’t just about us in the stage and playing. It was an entire economy. You know, back in Austin, it was a $1.9 billion a year economic driver, that sadly, the city of Austin, and I’ve argued with them year after year back then when I lived there, that why aren’t you even putting back 3% towards research and development, towards support. There’s just such a tiny amount that was put in and you pay for that later. You pay for it at the moment, if you’re an artist, and you’re a venue owner, but the entire economy pays for it later. So here we are just discovering and the pandemic help reveal some of that, the loss that we were feeling, what was missing. And so hopefully, after this we’ll be a bit closer, you know. I’m aware of, you know, what places closed down, what places hung in there, what places supported artists after the fact. So, I don’t know. It’s a good question, but we’re fairly fresh in this so we’re not on a larger scale, like in Austin or New Orleans, where there’s, it’s just, you know, systemic, it’s part of it. Here it’s, it feels fairly new or it was just becoming revitalized. So I think there are orgs that will pop up as a result of that, like, women in music programs and support groups for people that, you know, are agents or something. But a way for there to be more dialogue. But I think the recognition of that, and that’s why I enjoyed that question is that all of us were sort of stunned. Like, I wonder, I was sort of like, I wonder, oh, yeah. Everybody else?

Storm Gloor 30:33
Well, Troy, you talked about women in music and other organizations that could pop up. And we’ve talked certainly about a lot of initiatives and new programs. So I just, just to make sure we’ve covered our bases here, you know, any other new programs or new organizations or new businesses that have emerged since the beginning of 2020 that have been interesting to add to the mix.

Anthony Ball 30:59
I’ll add this. And I don’t know if you can call it a new business. You can call it a new camaraderie. This pandemic has built such a huge sense of community. You know, with all of this, you know, the booking agents, the studio guys, the teachers, the larger institutions, like before, like Lia’s mentioned, everybody was kind of in their corner. And I know, every city can kind of attest to that, when you’re going so much. You know, even the older generations always tell us that you’re moving too fast. But when you’re when you’re moving so fast, you don’t get to appreciate everybody, you don’t get all the details, what’s going on over here. And it quickly got so saturated before the pandemic happened, you had a gala every weekend, you had 1000 shows every weekend, some of them are even the same. And we could have made it bigger, if we would have, you know, been talking with each other and collaborating with each other. And now with the pandemic, everybody happened to pull back and slow down. It gave us a really, really cool opportunity to say, Hey, I don’t have anything going on, like, let’s figure out what we can do. We always talked, we’ve talked about doing something for four years, let’s figure this thing out and really, really like, figure out how we can move forward and do something together. And that’s one of the things you know, I guess that was one of the couple of the questions you asked. I hope that continues as well too. Lia mentioned, nobody was getting on the road coming to Northwest Arkansas when that when the pandemic hit. So we had to really, really look at each other and say, hey, what do you have? What do you have, let me bring my bread, I bring my chicken and we’ll put a meal together. Because I don’t have a meal right now. So that was something that was really, really new, and really, really refreshing. And something I hope that we continue, cause I think it brought such a huge value to our area. I don’t know if we all appreciated and knew what we had in Northwest Arkansas already because this is such a transit community. It is always about who’s coming here and sometimes you will miss what’s actually already here.

Troy Campbell 33:26
Yeah, I second that. I think it allowed a lot of us to step back, especially my organization that was based around, you know, international residency. So if you can think about collaboration, international residents we could have just dropped dead. But a big part of it was our actual real goal was, you know, discourse. Our actual real goal is for artists to see inside another artists life, to know they’re not alone. So the fact that we had a moment to step back, a forced moment to step back, let us look at our assets. Unless we were completely in panic mode, I started looking at what I had to work with. And what I had to work with was a great community that we, previous to this, and the three of us could never stop long enough to actually, we’d see each other and smile. And I’d be like, I really admire what you do, I wish I could hang out with you. And now we look at okay, how do we make what they’re doing with what they’re doing with what they have right now work? And how do I bring something, like you said, a lot of times a community, people will bring a fork to a picnic and nothing else. And in this community, everybody brings something to the table and it makes for a fantastic and it reminds me that I moved to a community and that’s what I sensed when I got here. Nothing like a pandemic, as they’ve always said, to bring you together.

Lia Uribe 34:45
Yeah, and I also think that, I mean, everybody had to reinvent themselves, regardless of being brand new organizations or there’s a reimagination with the reinventing because to me, my mind really doesn’t make sense to try to accommodate to the needs of 2019 pre-pandemic time, or pre-social tension, really deep conversations and questionings. We have changed at the core. I know the organizations that I belong to, me as a musician, as a practicing artist, I have changed radically. And my whole, you know, internal mission, visions, everything has been reconsidered. So we’re all starting again.

Storm Gloor 35:26
Excellent observations from all of you on this, and I appreciate the analogy to the meal as well. Very, very great.

Anthony Ball 35:36
We’re still in the South, man.

Storm Gloor 35:41
Let’s talk about government and you know, anyone who wants to address this, but your community level governments, what has been their role? What have they been doing to boost music in 2020? Or what do you see in the future?

Troy Campbell 35:58
I don’t know how y’all feel but it seems like right around the same time CACHE came in, there was a concerted effort to get every town/city in this area to understand that if they could participate in arts and in music, that it would strengthen and provide attraction of creatives, innovation, possibly relevancy, that sort of thing. So everybody started getting, we’re gathering those tools early. And as much as I complain about us, and I’ll continue to complain about Austin, but I got here and I thought, well, we never even had a chance to do that back in the day and things took off really fast. Here, there’s a chance to perhaps do it right. You know, it’s obvious to the three of us what’s going to happen here, if we keep moving in the trajectory that we’re moving, but if we try to build roads on a, you know, a rusty bridge, we’re going to become the American healthcare system, rather than a healthy, healthy system that we need here prior to a ton of traffic.

Lia Uribe 36:59
I want to say that Storm when I met you, and I attended your session in Lafayette in the convention we were speaking of earlier, I was very inspired by your job as mediating between the university and the city. And the many programs that you move that were so important for students to get that connection and that opportunity to be part of the change of the city and how to affect each other. I have still yet to see that happening in my area. I recently joined the Federal Arts Council at the time that Anthony was leaving. So Anthony has more to say about the work of this organization or this entity. And I’m hoping that eventually we are able to really involve, at least from my perspective as a university professor, to bridge that gap and to be able to provide the opportunity for both, at least, you know, to influence each other. You have also a great initiative in Fayetteville, they’re going to start soon the building of the Cultural Arts Corridor, which is a wonderful, you know, park, cultural park that is going to host public art and events and community. So I am really excited that that’s something that is going to affect us to a great extent, as an artist and as a community as well.

Anthony Ball 38:21
Yeah, so when I when I first moved here in 2007, the only show in town was Fayetteville. You know, and now, you know, you can, it went from first Thursdays, in farmers markets with art in Fayetteville to Bentonville, they host a first Friday, and several other events and they have, they brought, you know, Ben Vail Film Festival to the area where it brings, you know, all the most amazing, you know, film directors in the world, to the area. Culinary festival, bike festival, so many things going on in maineville. Rajahs has over the rail yard now where it’s a park, or community park and a community stage. You know, with great production, or they bring game shows on the weekends for families to come and the city to come gather at. Springdale, they’re reviving their downtown area. So you know, it’s spread like wildfire. And it’s so great to see that all those cities getting behind it. I’ve always kind of liked to think I was at the intersection of business and art, trying to get business folks to talk to the arts folks and the art folks to talk to the business folks. And that’s why that Music City Convention was so impactful, and empowering for me because I’ve never been in a space where I didn’t have to do any of the talking. And everybody else was talking about how much they loved us and how important it was to the city instead Like that it was it was amazing. And you’re seeing that spread throughout Northwest Arkansas. And now you’re seeing the university kind of bridge with the community now, you know, where people like Lia and Dr. Murdock, we have an Educator of the Year Grammy Award winning Educator of the Year, Dr. Murdock at the University of Arkansas that just won this year. So there’s a lot of great things that’s happening on the on the city levels. Lia talked about the Arts Council, other cities are starting to look at that, that concept in that model, and implement that in their cities to promote art in their cities as well, too, because cities are starting to see the value in those councils in their cities.

Storm Gloor 40:49
Fantastic segue, Anthony, to my next question. You mentioned how other cities are implementing that Arts Council concept. And that’s exciting. What other things could other cities learn from what’s going on there in Northwest Arkansas, and even better implement from what you all are doing?

Troy Campbell 41:09
Maybe, maybe, if you look at our example, we’re more of a cluster of towns and cities. So maybe it’s a little bit more like North Carolina, and Chapel Hill, that region. So the anology I like to make is, so we’ve got things like Crystal Bridges here, and Walmart center, and university. So those are big trees, those are very big trees. I’m a little tree that has been planted. And the artists are trees our organizations of trees that are going to fill the canopy up in between these spaces. So when you have a forest and you have a canopy like that, then you got more free movement, because people can go from place to place and feel like they could survive. And there’s only 20 minutes, really between a lot of these places, that that can feel like you’re climbing a mountain, when you don’t have the means. And so I like the idea that each of us in these little towns don’t have to think what’s our big tree, it’s our forests our part of the forest is the most important part. That’s better than one tree. You know,

Lia Uribe 42:16
Like you, I love the analogy. But at the same time, like you were saying earlier, Troy, these different cities that are part of this ecosystem, are being very careful and intentional into naming the person and they see the entity that is going to have these internal conversations about the arts, because we’re very different, in essence, so the needs of Fayetteville is different than Springdale is different than Rogers is different than Bentoville, and keeping that also that, you know, knowledge at the forefront, that we’re different communities, we belong to the whole forest, but we bring different things to the table and different needs as well. And responding to that, specifically has been very important because we have different needs.

Storm Gloor 43:03
Absolutely, absolutely.

Anthony Ball 43:05
Sound like a beautiful painting right there.

Storm Gloor 43:09
Very good. Anthony. As we wrap up here today, and first of all, thank you so much these, these have been such fantastic insights into an area that a lot of people don’t think of immediately. But they should when it comes to a thriving and successful and growing music ecosystem. But as we close out, I wonder if there’s anything else you all would like to share about your experiences within this growth? Anything else?

Lia Uribe 43:41
I just want to say that, you know, there are two things that carry me through this path of being an artist and a leader and an arts administrator, especially in this context of today. One is how do we, what do we do to promote leadership and to pipeline leadership, right how to empower those communities that are not making decisions all the time that historically have not made the decisions. So that’s something that we can achieve in our platforms, and we can join forces even more so to make sure that the next generation of leaders look like us, you know, they’re diverse, they know their communities, they bring that richness at the forefront of decision making. And the only thing that is so pertinent to this time is how much healing we are giving to our community by the things that we do. And it is very much needed the healing after these, you know, universal trauma, this pandemic, the healing after these centuries of inequalities and finally we are facing we had to and we are talking about it. So we have so much power in our hands. We in this call today and we all musicians and artists and I think that if we tap into those two things, we have a lot of work to do together. And it’s beautiful that opportunity we have to really transform and rebalance our environment.

Storm Gloor 45:02
Any other thoughts?

Anthony Ball 45:05
I appreciate the conversation. You know, Northwest Arkansas has been, it’s been such a great movie to watch. Over the last, you know, I say five years it’s all exploded, in a sense, you know, it’s we’re not Austin, we’re not a Chicago, we’re not a Memphis, we’re Northwest Arkansas. It’s a rich, rich community. And I think it’s because it’s a community though, you know, I’ve been to larger cities where you got to go in there and you got to fight for everything that you get, but the really unique part of Northwest Arkansas is you can go in and you can be a piece of the puzzle, you can be one of those trees that’s in the forest. And it’s not hard to get to the bigger trees, you know, that we call, you know, everybody matters in our in our area. And that’s the beautiful part of it. And I think, you know, going to my previous comment, I feel like that’s why we’ll always be authentic, because that’s gonna be a piece, that’s just in our DNA in Northwest Arkansas is easy going, but is still quality. And it’s beautiful work that’s been done in this in this area.

Troy Campbell 46:28
I think finding a place you know, I spent most of my life on the road and finding a place where I could feel comfortable in my own skin is a rare opportunity, especially as an artist too, I think sometimes believes I’m supposed to be uncomfortable, which is just bullshit. So define the others and then to do what you want. That’s the ultimate goal, I think of an arts community or an artist. So I’m in a room right now filled with the others. You know, as a kid in Middletown, Ohio, looking at records, that’s where I thought the others were, and they were, but then I found you all. So for me, that’s the one lesson that I got out as that they weren’t, it’s not on the opposite side of the world for me. It could be right next door, if I’m willing to be interested enough in that. So I don’t know this community has been teaching me more and more about that. I thought, I come here and I’ve got to start all over. And I realized I needed to understand what it was like to be in my own skin. And so there’s more power to that for me.

Storm Gloor 47:32
Well, congratulations on the work you’re doing Troy and Anthony and Lia. And speaking of the work you’re doing. Lia, I know as a fellow educator, that the program there that, that you are a part of and a leader in is, is doing great things there at the University of Arkansas, and we’re quite aware of that in the educational field. Anthony, is how do we learn more about Music Moves? Is there a website or anything that that listeners and viewers should check out?

Anthony Ball 48:03
Yeah, we pride ourself on being very, very easy to find a, ARs for Arkansas, same as for Instagram and Facebook, as well, too.

Storm Gloor 48:17
Great. And Troy, what about House of Songs? Where can we find more information?

Troy Campbell 48:21
The easiest place is But you can look up the house of songs PBS and there’s a wonderful episode on some of our adventures that went national that’s really easy to digest and get sort of the inside view of the life of a songwriter or working person that’s in the arts.

Storm Gloor 48:41
Awesome, awesome. And Lia, anything, any other place, you’d point us to learn more about your your program.

Lia Uribe 48:49
I invite everybody to check out RefleXions, with an X, music series and just google it. It’s the only RefleXions with a big x that is related to music and I hope to have you all at some point visit our project and be part of our conversations because what we want with reflections is to create a movement and more you know, awareness of how the power that we have with music.

Storm Gloor 49:19
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you all so much. Thanks. Thanks to our guests today and Northwest Arkansas is such a beautiful area and growing so quickly. But clearly from our conversation today, it’s obvious that there’s a lot happening in the music ecosystem. So that concludes our conversation today. Thank you for checking out this edition of Amplify Music Communities. Learn more by going to where you can subscribe to our podcast for more episodes.

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