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NewsNovember 22, 2021

Eaton Earns Artist 360 Grant

James Eaton IV, a senior music student at the University of Arkansas- Fort Smith, was recently awarded a prestigious Artist 360 grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance to further his work as a musician and composer. Eaton has studied saxophone under Dr. Christopher Barrick and Mr. Damian Cheek, and composition under Mr. Don Bailey

“I strive to write music that pushes the idea of narrative within music. I will use any tools necessary, and much of my work is experimental in nature,” said Eaton in his Artist Statement. “Almost all of my pieces follow a loosely structured narrative to expand upon preexisting ideas and themes. I sometimes enjoy making the narrative obscure in order to force the listener to derive their own meaning, as well as to encourage finding meaning in abstraction. I value the individual’s creative interpretation above all else, and do not compromise in my ideas.”

James writes under the name “Abstraktes,” a moniker under which he has written four albums.

According to a release, Artists 360 combines grantmaking and professional development to strengthen the careers of individual artists of all disciplines in Northwest Arkansas, and is made possible with the support from Steuart Walton and Tom Walton through the Walton Family Foundation.

“Artists 360 demonstrates the deep bench of talent that exists in Northwest Arkansas and is exactly what continues to drive cultural innovation in this area,” said M-AAA’s President and CEO Todd Stein. “Being able to elevate the role and impact of artists within their cultural communities is critical to the vibrancy and sustainability of any creative ecosystem.”

This year’s awards total fourteen $7,500 grants to professional artists, six $1,500 grants to student artists and five $15,000 community activator grants to artists in support of collaborative projects creating groundbreaking work that generates dialogue and community engagement. 

Along with direct grants to selected artists, Artists 360 offers intensive professional development through cohort-based training, one-on-one coaching sessions, peer networking opportunities, retreats for participants and alumni, and a new artists showcase event, stated the release.