Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crystal Bridges Museum to be Free To All – Forever

What a wonderful gift! The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville promises to be a premier destination for people from all walks of life and now, thanks to an endowment from Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., it will be free to all visitors.

Northwest Arkansas is a remarkable place to live, but most of the cultural events have been centered in Fayetteville with concerts and other events associated with the University and the Walton Arts Center. Then Alice Walton, only daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, announced plans to build a major art museum in Bentonville, Arkansas.

The grounds and exterior of the buildings are extraordinary. I’ve seen the plans and 3-D models and I look forward to seeing them come to life. Many of the acquisitions of American art made so far are formidable, and the collection continues to grow.

For some people, seeing the exterior is perhaps all they could afford. With that in mind, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., has announced a $20 million endowment to the museum, which will allow free admission to all visitors in perpetuity. Indeed, Wal-Mart’s $20 million gift is a gift to us all.

In addition to Ms. Walton’s personal backing, the Walton Family Foundation recently pledged an $800 million endowment for acquisitions, operations, and future capital improvements. That gift is probably one of the largest ever to an American museum.

So mark your calendars. The grand opening is scheduled for 11-11-11 (November 11, 2011.) I wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to visit on opening day, but do plan to go at your convenience. It will be worth your time.

In an era where the arts nationwide have repeatedly hit the budget chopping block, a gift like this assures a continuing contribution to the quality of life of NW Arkansas. The museum will expand cultural and economic development not only in Bentonville but also throughout the area. What an opportunity for us all.

For more information about the endowment, click here. The Crystal Bridges website has more information about the building, grounds, collection and programs.

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