Rogers High School Seniors Connecting Dots to Art & Music & Economic Development
ROGERS, AR, November 28, 2018 – Six Senior students from Rogers High School (RHS) are partnering with the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce to explore existing and potential relationships between art and music and economic development. Through a Senior Project initiative that pairs up students and businesses, the student team is identifying ways to help promote and position Downtown Rogers as an emerging music and arts destination.
Students will wrap up the 2nd phase of the project on Thursday, November 29 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. in a meet and greet with area business owners and local media at the Rogers Experimental House, located at 121 W. Walnut St. in Rogers. Students are currently spending three days surrounded by art at the Rogers Experimental House as artists prepare for the Holidays on the Bricks Pop-Up Boutique and Santa’s Workshop coming Saturday, December 1. They have already conducted a walking tour of businesses that support art and music, met with owners and gathered information while learning where art and music happen in Downtown Rogers.
Lisa Cassidy, RHS Art & Graphic Design teacher, reached out to Karen Wagaman, VP of Downtown Development at the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, to get help assigning students to a meaningful, arts- related project. Cassidy was impressed. “This Senior Project provided a unique opportunity to connect students and business owners who support the arts and Downtown Rogers. It’s the perfect real-world learning experience and initiative for our students to develop their problem-solving skills while making an impact on the community with their ideas,” said Cassidy.
MUSIC AND ART—AN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DRIVER
The Senior Project has included a meeting with Kenny Lamb, an award-winning Nashville songwriter, producer and talent manager who is a part-time resident of Northwest Arkansas and involved in helping develop music-related growth in the area.
Lamb shared his “placemaking through music” message with the students. “Music impacts all aspects of a local economy – food, beverage, shops and services, and connects the community in diverse and long-term ways,” Lamb explained to the student team. “As much as it is needed for venues to support music in meaningful ways, it is also important for music performers to be organized in their efforts and inspired in their art. When the entertainment value is there, it will find an audience.”
Lamb’s enthusiasm for destination marketing and the use of music and art as a driver for economic development is contagious. “A true collaboration between venues and artists goes beyond a single performance in a single venue. It benefits the big picture,” Lamb continued. “Over time, a music scene can grow in unexpected ways, and a strong local music scene equals a strong local economy.”
Wagaman agreed with Lamb and added, “The arts may be an important part of a city’s development and growth strategy and this growth is often organic and able to occur without a huge price tag. For example, The Art on the Bricks Art Walk began in November 2017 and has been successful activating the Downtown Rogers district once a month the past year by attracting thousands of art patrons and hundreds of regional artists.”
THE SENIOR PROJECT INITIATIVE
The Senior Project initiative is an annual program organized by the RHS Advisory Committee. Select seniors are put on teams of five or six students that partner with businesses in the community to problem-solve on real-world projects and assist companies and organizations with new ideas.
The first phase of the program includes meetings with student teams’ respective business representatives. That is followed by a full day of training with faculty to gain the necessary skills to discover solutions using communication, math, science, technology and presentation techniques.
The second phase includes three days conducting research in the field, gathering data, evaluating alternatives and finding possible solutions.
The third and final phase includes the formal presentation of ideas generated and proposed solutions.
About the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce
The Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce is a five-star accredited chamber serving over 2,100 member businesses across the region. The Chamber serves as the voice of business, promoting and initiating responsible economic growth, while addressing community challenges in the Rogers and Lowell Area, and the Northwest Arkansas region. The Chamber offers a variety of programming designed to grow business and build community. For more information on the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce, visit RogersLowell.com, or call (479) 636-1240.
About the Rogers Experimental House
Rogers Experimental House (501c3) is a creative organization devoted to identifying space and resources to help independent and community-generated creative projects develop and become a reality. The RXH provides learning opportunities and resources for all ages and seeks to support artists, designers, entrepreneurs, performers, makers and all creative types in our community. The vision of the Rogers Experimental House is driven by core values of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and teaching, centered in the historic community of Downtown Rogers, Arkansas. For more information visit experimentalhouse.com/