Twenty-five expansion proposals made to the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville — including a joint plan by the University of Arkansas and the City of Fayetteville and another by the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce — are now posted on the Walton Arts Center's website. The Fayetteville Flyer has looked over the dozens of pages submitted to construct a great overview of the submissions. Things to note in the story: A letter from philanthropist and longtime WAC fund-raiser Billie Jo Starr saying she will only support the Fayetteville proposal; Northwest Arkansas Community College's 41-page proposal, and the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce proposal that is no more specific about the location than to say that it's "within 1/2 mile of the Bentonville Downtown." That could be Walton property — or it could be a city park. Either way, there's no way to get to it short of plowing down a lot of the city to make a new highway. All of the other proposals are easily accessed. One thing is for sure: The Waltons say they won't support it unless it's in Bentonville. They didn't say it had to be on their own property, next to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (and indeed, building that museum is turning out to be quite difficult on that geography), but the Walton money will only flow to a B-ville arts center. So what do you think the Walton Arts Center board will do?
The Walton Arts Center sent out a news release today saying the deadline for site proposals for a bigger and better arts center is 5 p.m. Monday. The proposals will be posted the following day on the arts center's website.
There are 15 criteria for the site, the WAC says. The most important one: That the Arts Center be built in Bentonville.
The WAC doesn't say that, but the Walton family, whose foundation funds the Arts Center, recently announced if the new arts center isn't built in Walmartville, forget any future dough.
So where do YOU think WAC will choose to build? Bentonville, of course. I'll be even more specific: I'll guess they'll go with the Waltons' 100 acres in the middle of Bentonville, next to Alice Walton's future Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which has been in construction for three years. By the time the WAC money is raised, they ought to have construction wrinkles on the hard-to-build-on property ironed out.
Here's the press release:
Walton Arts Center update on expansion site selection process
NORTHWEST ARKANSAS—July 27, 2010—The proposal submission phase of Walton Arts Center’s expansion site selection process will close at 5pm on Monday, August 2, 2010. On August 3, Walton Arts Center will make the proposals available via our website, www.waltonartscenter.org.
The expansion site selection process began in March 2010 with the release of 15 site selection criteria. The process has been open to cities, municipalities, individuals and developers to submit site proposals through an online form. Walton Arts Center has received, to date, more than 20 proposals and we expect to receive additional submissions up to the close of business on August 2.
The next phase of the selection process will involve review and assessment of all the proposals using the 15 site selection criteria. Walton Arts Center’s Facilities Committee will meet in September to review the proposals. The Facilities Committee and staff will work with the submitting individuals and entities over the coming months to clarify, seek additional details or specifics as needed, and work to narrow down the proposals to a few sites. The goal of the evaluation phase is for the Facilities Committee to recommend 1-3 sites to the full Board of Directors for final consideration. The Facilities Committee expects this recommendation to come to the Board before the end of December.
For additional information about the process or the site proposals, please contact Terri Trotter, 479-571-2739 /firstname.lastname@example.org or Jodi Beznoska, 479-571-2755 / email@example.com.
Walton Arts Center is Arkansas' premier center for the performing arts and entertainment. Each year more than 140,000 people from Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma and beyond attend over 350 public events at Walton Arts Center, including performances, rehearsals, community gatherings, receptions, graduations and more. Approximately 20,000 students and teachers from 30 school districts participate annually in arts learning programs at Walton Arts Center, and over 300 volunteers donate more than 15,000 hours of time each year to its operations. Walton Arts Center presents entertainers and artists from around the world including Broadway musicals, renowned dance companies, international artists, up-and-coming jazz musicians and more. As a non-profit organization, Walton Arts Center enjoys the generous support of public sector funding, corporate sponsorship and private donors, allowing audience members to pay on average only 50% of the cost of programs offered. To learn more about Walton Arts Center, visit www.waltonartscenter.org.
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