Northwest Arkansans are joining together to showcase the region’s diverse cultures, activate collection drives for local nonprofits and strengthen connections within communities during Welcoming Week NWA, an annual series of family-friendly events running Sept. 9-18.
The program’s overarching message is that people of all backgrounds belong in NWA and enrich the region both economically and socially.
“Inclusive places and experiences benefit us all,” said Margot Lemaster, who oversees Welcoming Week NWA as executive director of EngageNWA, the Northwest Arkansas Council’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative. “Welcoming Week NWA is a time to learn our community’s histories and celebrate its strengths, and also to spur us all to strengthen connections and create a welcoming and inclusive region year-round.”
Several events require tickets for limited seats, so be sure to register ahead of time. The lineup includes:
- An opening celebration at The Jones Center, 10-11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 9: Hear about all the events happening during the week and ways to participate, and enjoy light refreshments and fun. Everyone is welcome, including project leaders, business supporters, media partners and community members.
- “Land of Gold” screening and panel at the Thaden School Performing Arts Center, 6-9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9: Watch an official selection of the Tribeca Festival and Bentonville Film Fest, “Land of Gold,” which tells the story of a truck driver who finds a young Mexican-American girl inside of a shipping container and seeks to reunite her with her family. After the film, hear from the filmmakers and stars during a Q&A session. Pre-register for limited seats .
- Welcome kit and gift card drive for Canopy NWA, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 10: Support refugee families from Afghanistan and other parts of the world as they arrive in Northwest Arkansas by donating household and school supplies or gift cards at 1142 N. Futrall Drive in Fayetteville. Find out what to bring.
- Solidarity in Racial Justice panel discussion, 3-5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13, at the U of A Collaborative in Bentonville: Join a unique panel discussion examining the power of solidarity within social justice movements. Space is limited, so pre-register online.
- Welcoming Week closing celebration at CACHE Studios in Bentonville, 5-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17: Celebrate with powerful music from local creatives Pura Coco & Sarah Lily, then hear organizers share their work and vision for how we can continue building belonging in NWA.
Several community events that share a similar mission coincide with Welcoming Week NWA, including bilingual storytime at Springdale Public Library on Sept. 14 and 15, the Hispanic Heritage Festival in Bentonville on Sept. 17, and the three-day Native American cultural celebration Indigenuity 2.0 starting Sept. 19 at the Museum of Native American History in Bentonville.
Welcoming Week NWA 2022 is possible thanks to many supporters and partners across the region that are committed to make it the biggest Welcoming Week NWA event yet.