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Getting to know Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum’s first Designer in Residence Bruce Davis, of 22nd Element, and take an inside look at the first EMERGE studio session in downtown Springdale, AR.

Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum Relocation

Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum Relocates Headquarters to CACHE’s Springdale Creative Hub

Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum (AAFF) today (Oct. 17th, 2020) announced the move of its headquarters and operations to the new Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE) creative hub in Springdale — the former home of Arts Center of the Ozarks.

With support from the Tyson Family Foundation, CACHE took on operations of the collaborative arts space in early September with the goal of expanding equity, inclusion and expression across all artistic disciplines and Northwest Arkansas communities.

“CACHE is excited to have AAFF as the first anchor tenant occupying the space,” said Allyson Esposito, CACHE executive director. “AAFF has developed long lasting and deep connections with both the local Marshallese and Latinx communities in downtown Springdale. AAFF’s presence in such a historically important location provides the opportunity to expand these relationships and provides room to foster inclusive and culturally responsive creative programming in the new location.”

AAFF’s sewn goods production and administrative staff of seven will also headquarter out of the space. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, AAFF has largely pivoted its programming to focus on micro-batch sewn goods manufacturing, having made and donated over 10,000 fabric face masks for the local community. The accompanying #GetYourMaskOn social media campaign reached over 40,000 Arkansans and is one of the first public service campaigns launched to promote the importance of face masks use in the state. Click here to read the full press release!

We are thrilled to announce that Bruce Davis, designer, and creator of 22nd Element will be the inaugural Designer in Residence for our new program EMERGE. Read our most recent press release below to learn more about the program and the designer!

Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum (AAFF) is thrilled to debut details for EMERGE, a newly developed designer residency program established to both further develop talent in the area, as well as attract visionaries from other regions to collaborate, train, and learn from the regional creative community. This project will kick off its inaugural season this Fall 2020. EMERGE, presented by AAFF, unveils its new brand identity, featuring the logo included in the image above, created as a visual representation of the rising talent participating in this incredible program. This curriculum will strive to build an ongoing platform to grow local and regional talent through collaboration and mentorship from industry experts in fashion, sustainability, manufacturing, and creative design.


EMERGE will engage one experienced Designer In Residence, as well as a select group of local designers – referred to as the Designer Cohort, to support the growth of the existing local talent, foster creative production, and contribute industry knowledge to the local community. AAFF and EMERGE are thrilled to announce Bruce Davis, Designer and Creator of 22nd Element as the Designer in Residence for the Fall 2020 season.


Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Bruce draws inspiration for his brand from the periodic table, and the 22nd element – Titanium, which he describes as a “strong and lustrous metal”, qualities he identifies with in relation to his collection. According to Bruce, 22nd Element is built on the idea of creating a fresh perspective on the future of apparel, creating “ready-to-wear with a mixture of both edge and class. The clothes that I make are genderless and inclusive. I take pride in knowing that I engineered clothes based on embracing individuality.”


Bruce believes that fashion should always go beyond turning heads, that it is about manifesting your true self. Four years into his design career, he is continuing to learn the art of fashion and design. Bruce is determined to continue to give the world the look of his most precious element, Titanium.


AAFF and EMERGE are now seeking applicants to apply for the Designer Cohort Portion of the program. 10 Arkansas-based designers will have the opportunity to participate in workshops, collaborations, and attend talks with Visiting Mentors and Bruce Davis, the Fall 2020 Designers in Residence. These 10 designers will receive a material budget to help with the creation of a program inspired project made while in collaboration with the Designer in Residence. Applications for the EMERGE program will be due at Midnight/CST on Tuesday, August 25th. To apply or to learn more about our Designer in Residence please follow this link: https://bit.ly/2DtzvAH

Upcoming Programming

On Monday, November 6th, 2020, at 6:30 PM, Arkansas Arts & Fashion Forum will be hosting a live video conversation with Dr. Andre Johnson and Dr. Lisa Corrigan. Here they will discuss our nation’s current state and how we should move forward in our post-election world.

Please bring or submit questions to contact@arkansasfashion.org in advance.

Dr. Lisa M. Corrigan is a Professor of Communication, Director of the Gender Studies Program, and Affiliate Faculty in both African & African American Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies in the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. She is a feminist rhetorical scholar who researches and teaches in the areas of social movement studies, the Black Power and civil rights movement, prison studies, feminist studies, the Cold War, and the history of public address. Her first book, Prison Power: How Prison Influenced the Movement for Black Liberation (2016: University Press of Mississippi) won the 2017 Diamond Anniversary Book Award and the 2017 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award, both from the National Communication Association. Her newest book, Black Feelings: Race and Affect in the Long Sixties (2020: University Press of Mississippi) examines how the role of race is shaping public policy and how public policy shapes racial identification. She co-hosts the popular podcast, Lean Back: Critical Feminist Conversations, with Laura Weiderhaft. And she has worked in political campaigns and as a political consultant for over 25 years.

Andre E. Johnson, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies in the Department of Communication and Film at the University of Memphis. He teaches classes in African American Public Address, Rhetoric Race and Religion, Media Studies, Interracial Communication, Rhetoric, and Popular Culture, and Hip Hop Studies. He is currently collecting and editing the works of AME Church Bishop Henry McNeal Turner under the title The Literary Archive of Henry McNeal Turner (Edwin Mellen Press). He has already published the first six volumes, and the seventh one is set for publication in 2020. Additionally, along with his academic titles, he currently serves as Senior Pastor of Gifts of Life Ministries, an inner-city church built upon the servant leadership philosophy in Memphis, Tennessee.

In addition to collecting the writings of Bishop Turner, Dr. Johnson is the co-author (with Amanda Nell Edgar) of The Struggle Over Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter (2018) that won the 2018 National Communication Association (NCA) African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award. He is also the author of The Forgotten Prophet: Bishop Henry McNeal Turner and the African American Prophetic Tradition (2012) that won the same national award in 2013. He is the editor of Urban God Talk: Constructing a Hip Hop Spirituality (2013) and his latest book is No Future in this Country: The Prophetic Pessimism of Bishop Henry McNeal Turner which the University Press of Mississippi plans to release in 2020. He is also the curator and director of the Henry McNeal Turner Project (#HMTProject); a digital archive dedicated to the writings and study of Bishop Turner.

With political tensions reaching an all-time high in the previous week, many of us have asked the question, “where do we go from here?” While our nation stands more noticeably divided than we had previously assumed, we must start a conversation on “The Path Forward.”

Join us on zoom at https://zoom.us/j/98854908516

Stay Tuned! More to come soon!

Anti Racism Resource Group!

-To join this Facebook group click here: shorturl.at/gixTV

-Anti-Racism Resource Group is a communal space built in the model of group recovery programs that allow for anonymity, solidarity, and understanding.

-The next group meeting will be Thursday, 8/27/2020 at 7:00 pm!

Good Book Club!

To join this Facebook group click the link here: shorturl.at/bltS8

-Good Stuff 4 Good People has partnered with us to bring you a space where people can read a curated selection of books that will help our community work towards becoming better allies and reach farther levels of understanding.?


-The next meeting will be Tuesday, 8/25/2020 at 7 PM!
Designer: Basana Chhetri, Photographer: Sadie Rucker

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