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Amanda Arafat is an artisan baker and cook, who has found purpose, meaning, and true community in her connection to food. Amanda runs a home-based popup micro-bakery in the heart of downtown Fayetteville called Amanda Bakes. Through her bakery, she serves wholesome, locally sourced breads and desserts that highlight local farmers and producers.

In addition to this work, she is also the co-founder and co-organizer of Big Gay Market. Big Gay Market is a collective of local LGBTQ+ makers, artists, crafters, bakers, curators, and business owners. Their mission is to introduce the community to these artists, and increase their reach, presence, and activity within the local economy.

During this residency, the Fayetteville Public Library’s Teaching Kitchen will be utilized to for Amanda Bakes. Additionally, the library will partner with Big Gay Market to host a Big Gay Brunch that provides community, networking, and education to LGBTQ+ business owners in Northwest Arkansas on the topics such as scam prevention, valuing and pricing goods, establishing an LLC, managing finances, and all the other information that is invaluable to a new business owner.

Community cooking classes for all ages will include Eat the Farmers Market, a monthly series on cooking with the season, and Baking Creative, a class for intermediate bakers to diversify their flavor profiles and add complexity and individual personality to their bakes while guiding them through the troubleshooting that comes with more experimental baking.