Walmart said it will donate $20 million to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to provide for free admission for the next five years. The expansive world class facility scheduled to open Nov. 11 in Bentonville, Ark. was founded by the Walton Family Foundation in 2005.
“While saving people money is how we make people’s lives better every day, we realize that things like listening to your favorite song, seeing a beautiful painting or laying eyes on an amazing sculpture make our lives better, too,” said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. president and CEO Mike Duke. “We are excited about the cultural opportunities Crystal Bridges is bringing to our area and even more excited that our families, friends and neighbors will experience it at no cost.”
The museum’s executive director, Don Bacigalupi, added, “One of the greatest challenges for museums today is finding ways to remove barriers to community participation, including admission charges. Walmart has shown extraordinary vision and foresight in funding access to the museum, providing all that Crystal Bridges has to offer to all people at no cost. We know that this gift will allow the museum to become a daily resource in our community.”
Crystal Bridges is currently building its permanent collection through the efforts of its professional staff as well as important gifts from private collectors such as Alice Walton and others. The collection features American masterworks dating from the Colonial era to contemporary times. The Museum also will display a changing array of special exhibitions featuring art from museums and collections throughout the region, the nation and abroad.