July 2012 - Vol 9, No 7
BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Daniel Hintz moved to Northwest Arkansas from Seatle, Wash. In 2004 and has been exercising some great practices to help stimulate some of our downtown communities ever since. Getting his start in this area with the Walton Arts Center, he eventually co-founded Theatre Squared, the regional professional theatre company in Fayetteville.
Redirecting his attention to the downtown Bentonville area, he is now the executive director of Downtown Bentonville, Inc., a social entrepreneurship that works with several different groups to stimulate the productivity of the downtown atmosphere in Bentonville. Working along with the city, the Chamber of Commerce, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the county, Wal-Mart, the Bentonville school district and others, Downtown Bentonville, Inc. focuses on stimulating eco development, event production, marketing communication and other things that tie the community together and make downtown Bentonville a more exciting and satisfying place to spend your time. Working with these groups is a great way for them to help keep downtown Bentonville alive and highlight the unique elements of the downtown life that Bentonville has to offer.
One of the ways this project is funded is by holding events, such as The American Art and Music Festival, being held this month on July 6-7 in the downtown Square. Events like these highlight the overall vibe there, as well as help generate more revenue to continue to hold small and large events of the like in the future. This cycle of entertainment and streaming revenue helps to see that the life of the downtown area will continue to thrive and that these types of events will continue to be held, not only bringing the locals a good source of accessible fun and entertainment, but helping to stimulate the local economies and serve the other business located downtown as well.
Downtown Bentonville, Inc. is an independent non-profit with a 501c3 status, so other funds come from areas such as contracts for service with the city, grants from the Walton Family Foundation, as well as 50 % of the earned revenue coming from memberships, advertising and production fees. Using this earned revenue model to drive resources has, in turn, benefited the public community and members greatly by increasing their networking capabilities and having more hands on projects for incoming ideas of the local patrons.
Not all of the activities held are strictly for entertainment. Some very beneficial additions that have been made are the downtown Bentonville Farmer’s Market, which now excepts SNAP, WIC and the Senior Food Program. By making local food purchases available, this stimulates the local economy by helping support local food vendors, as well as helping to make healthy food choices available to many. The commission received from vendors allows this group to continue to thrive as well with a cycle of support and to continue the fight against food insecurity.
Another new addition is the First Friday Art Festivals, which provides business opportunities to local artists to sell and distribute their art as well as a platform for local musicians to get paid for playing gigs.
With only four full-time paid employees and one part-time employee, Downtown Bentonville, Inc. truly is an incredibly beneficial social entrepreneurship and a great asset to our local community. Daniel Hintz referred to their staff as the “concierge of opportunity,” helping to take ideas, challenges and concepts to an entire network to get projects off the ground and start making things happen. Having this organization there has helped to solidify downtown Bentonville as a connection point, where people can go to create art, to have fun, to be entertained, to start a business, to buy healthy food...you name it. “The epicenter of opportunity,” said Daniel in one of his last statements regarding downtown Bentonville.
Don’t forget to check out The American Art and Music Festival in downtown Bentonville on July 6-7, with a headlining performance by the Cate Brothers from Fayetteville, Ark., an event coordinated by Hintz and Co. at DBI. For more information, visit www.downtownbentonville.org.