Faculty and Alumna Receive Arkansas Arts Council Fellowships

by | Sep 17, 2018 | Alumni Awards & Achievements, Faculty Points of Pride, Outreach & Impact

From the left: Jake Hertzog, Rachel Lynett, John Walch

The Arkansas Arts Council is recognizing nine Arkansas artists from across the state in 2018 for their individual artistic ability and creative excellence in literary, performing and visual arts.

Among this prestigious group are two faculty members and one alumna from the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Department of Music guitar instructor Jake Hertzog won in the “Performing Arts: Music Composition in the Classical Western Tradition” category, and Department of Theatre playwriting M.F.A. alumna Rachel Lynett and assistant professor John Walch both won in the “Literary Arts: Playwriting” category.

The Arkansas Arts Council, a division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage, awards its Individual Artist Fellowships to, “encourage Arkansas artists of all disciplines and give them the resources to grow their careers and talents. This, in turn, contributes to our successful creative economy,” said Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. 

Each fellowship recipient will receive $4,000 to enable them to set aside time for creating their art and improving their skills.

Three artistic disciplines are selected each year as categories for the awards. This year’s categories and winners include:

  • Literary Arts: Playwriting – Candrice Jones, Little Rock; Rachel Lynett, Fayetteville; and John Walch, Fayetteville
  • Performing Arts: Music Composition in the Classical Western Tradition – Aaron J. Fisher, Jonesboro; David Franks, Greenland; and Jake Hertzog, Fayetteville 
  • Visual Arts: Works on Paper – Melissa Cowper-Smith, Morrilton; Lisa Krannichfeld, Little Rock; and Sabine Schmidt, Fayetteville 

Each year, recipients are selected by a jury of professional artists, writers and performers. 

This year, the awardees will be recognized for their achievements during an awards ceremony from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Historic Arkansas Museum at 200 E. Third St. in Little Rock. 


Jake Hertzog is a multi-genre award-winning guitarist, composer, songwriter and educator currently based in Fayetteville, Arkansas where he is Instructor of Guitar at the University of Arkansas. He has nine albums as a leader, ranging from jazz, to rock, to contemporary classical. His newest project “Stringscapes” is a modern classical album set for release in 2018. Hertzog is the author of Guitar Sound Effects on Hal Leonard and the creator of the “Hey Jazz Guy” instructional series for Guitar Player Magazine. He is a grand prize winner of the Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition and holds degrees from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and The Manhattan School of Music in New York. His artist website is at www.jakehertzog.com.

Rachel Lynett is an Arkansas-based playwright and theatre artist. Her recent playwriting credits include HE DID IT, presented as a reading with Equity Library Theatre in Chicago (2018) and presented as a workshop production with University of Central Florida’s Pegasus PlayLab. Her play REFUGE was presented as part of Z Space’s Problematic Play Festival (2018), and GOOD BAD PEOPLE as part of Talk Back Theatre’s Reading Series (2018), part of American Stage Theatre Company’s 21st Century New Voices New Play Festival (2018), part of Jackalope Theatre’s CIRCLE UP series (2017) and as a reading as part of Unicorn Theatre Plays In Progress (2018). WELL-INTENTIONED WHITE PEOPLE was presented as a world premiere with Barrington Stage Theatre Company (2018), and was part of the Downstage Left Residency with Stage Left (2017), part of the Orlando Shakespeare New Play Festival (2017), and received honorable mention for the 2017 Kilroys. Her play, ABORTION ROAD TRIP received a workshop production produced by Theatre Prometheus as part of Capital Fringe, where it won Best Comedy (2017) and then was later presented by Theatre Prometheus, as a part of the 2017 Kennedy Center Page to Stage Festival.  

John Walch is an assistant professor and head of the M.F.A Program in Playwriting at the University of Arkansas. Walch is a two-time Sloan Fellow, and was a James Michener Fellow at the Michener Center at University of Texas at Austin, where he earned his M.F.A. in Playwriting. Walch has taught playwriting at University of Texas at Austin, University of Iowa, and Bennington College, among others. Walch is an alum of New Dramatists in New York City and awards include: the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays; the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award; the Frederick Loewe Award in Musical Theatre, and the Charlotte Woolard Award from the Kennedy Center recognizing a new voice in the American Theatre. Walch plays have been seen at TheatreSquared in the Arkansas New Play Festival, on the University of Arkansas campus during the ArkType New Works Festival, at 21C Bentonville with ArkansasStaged, as well as in theatres across the country; his credits include A Hamlet: West of Why, In The Book Of, Circumference of a Squirrel, TransAtlantic, The Dinosaur Within and Alice Threw the Looking Glass – a parody of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. 

About the Arkansas Arts Council: The Arkansas Arts Council advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs. The Arkansas Arts Council is division of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Other agencies are the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, Arkansas State Archives, Delta Cultural Center in Helena, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with three schools, 16 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Andra Parrish Liwag

Director of Communications, J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences 

479-575-4393 // liwag@uark.edu