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“In Northwest Arkansas, we know that the arts are economic development and artists are entrepreneurs. Mario has experience both above and below the line and that helps us build a complete ecosystem. We have a culture that thirsts for knowledge and is driven towards continuous improvement. He’s been there, he has done it and now he’s teaching us.”

Graham Cobb, President and CEO at Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce

Name/Title: Mario Troncoso, Director of Film and Media Ecosystems at CACHE

City: Bentonville

Where did you grow up? How did you end up in Northwest Arkansas?

I’m originally from Madrid, Spain although I’ve spent most of my adult life in Texas. I moved here in 2020 from Austin, TX.

Can you tell us about any projects you’ve worked on since arriving in the region?

I moved to Northwest Arkansas to produce and direct OZCast, an online creative variety show featuring Arkansas and Heartland artists, places, and cultures. Our first season explored the relationship between our fundamentally creative human nature and the resilience that affords us, as individuals and communities. We’re currently in pre-production for season 2 which will premiere in the spring.

How would you describe living in Northwest Arkansas to someone thinking about relocating here?

Northwest Arkansas is a great place to live and an ideal location for remote workers and creatives. The arts and culture along with the beautiful and never-ending trails are transforming the region very quickly and it makes it very attractive for many people like myself. This growth and development presents a lot of exciting opportunities for the region but will also present challenges. It is important to recognize the communities and cultures who are already here and we should all work together to ensure the growth of the community is sustainable and inclusive.

How would you describe living in Northwest Arkansas to someone thinking about relocating here?

Northwest Arkansas is a great place to live and an ideal location for remote workers and creatives. The arts and culture along with the beautiful and never-ending trails are transforming the region very quickly and it makes it very attractive for many people like myself. This growth and development presents a lot of exciting opportunities for the region but will also present challenges. It is important to recognize the communities and cultures who are already here and we should all work together to ensure the growth of the community is sustainable and inclusive.

Someone who has never been to the region is coming for 24 hours, what should they do, where should they go?

I know I’m biased here, but if they only have 24hrs, they should visit Bentonville. First, I’d recommend that they explore the outdoors—either by bike or on foot. Eat lunch at 8th Street Market and then make their way to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Before dinner, stroll around downtown Bentonville and enjoy the public art hiding behind every corner. There are plenty of outdoor dining options to choose from, but they should save room for an ice cream cone at Spark Café. Finally, they should go explore The Momentary and take a selfie in front of Tavares Strachan’s You Belong Here neon sign. If they have energy left, they can end the night with a cocktail at The Momentary’s Tower Bar. Or, if they have kids, they can let them run and play around the park.

Describe NW Arkansas in Three Words

Art, nature, and opportunity.

Mario Troncoso
What are some of your favorite things about the region?

I spend a couple of hours every day walking, so walkability was a critical factor in deciding to live in Bentonville. Here, I can walk or bike to all my favorite spots while enjoying all the public art around town and along the trails. One of my favorite things to do is to grab a coffee and croissant at Onyx Coffee Lab and walk to Crystal Bridges to enjoy a collection. It clears my head every time. In the spring and summer, I love shopping and talking to farmers at the Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings. I love to see how the community comes together and interacts. Another magical experience I had with my kids this year was the North Forest Lights. Outside of Bentonville, my favorite thing to do is canoe the Buffalo River. The river helps us to connect with this land and with its history in a way our towns or museum can’t.

What do you do in your free time?

The line between work and life for me is very blurry because most of my hobbies like reading, writing, watching movies, or TV are directly connected to my work. When I do have free time though, I try to spend it with my crazy kids and enjoy the little things like a glass of wine on my porch, reading a new book, listening to an old record, or cooking.

What causes are you passionate about? What inspires you?

My main goal in life is to give more than I take. Most of the work that I’m doing in the region serves the community, especially the creative community. I’m here to learn from them. I want to hear their stories before I begin to tell mine. I’m passionate about the creative process.

What are you most proud of in your professional career?

My ten Emmy Awards and 36 Emmy nominations—no question about it. It took our amazing team a lot of work, love, tears, and some blood to earn it.

What do you do in your free time?

The line between work and life for me is very blurry because most of my hobbies like reading, writing, watching movies, or TV are directly connected to my work. When I do have free time though, I try to spend it with my crazy kids and enjoy the little things like a glass of wine on my porch, reading a new book, listening to an old record, or cooking.

What causes are you passionate about? What inspires you?

My main goal in life is to give more than I take. Most of the work that I’m doing in the region serves the community, especially the creative community. I’m here to learn from them. I want to hear their stories before I begin to tell mine. I’m passionate about the creative process.

What are you most proud of in your professional career?

My ten Emmy Awards and 36 Emmy nominations—no question about it. It took our amazing team a lot of work, love, tears, and some blood to earn it.

If you were to give the region a tagline, what would it be?

The best is yet to come.

Mario Troncoso
What is your hope for the future of the region? What is your vision for the media/film ecosystem in Northwest Arkansas?

I think the future of the region is bright, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We have a beautiful canvas but we need to invest more in human capital so we can retain and attract the talent needed to diversify into new industries. Our ability to grow sustainably depends on it. In terms of film and media in Northwest Arkansas, we have an opportunity to create a very unique and inclusive ecosystem. The potential for economic development for artists and entrepreneurs is huge. In order to succeed we need to make sure we have a pool of talent with the right mix of knowledge and experience to make the ecosystem work for everyone involved. Part of my work with CACHE right now is to figure out what’s already here and what’s missing. We’ll find our vision and our narrative through this mapping process.

Creative Arkansas Community Hub & Exchange (CACHE) elevates Northwest Arkansas as a leading region of arts, culture, and creativity — an inclusive, inspiring and equitable ecosystem of diverse artists, businesses, nonprofits, and communities.

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