Walkers give Crystal Bridges $10 million | Rock Candy

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Walkers give Crystal Bridges $10 million

Posted By on Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Crystal Bridges didn't share the love yesterday and left Eye Candy off its media list, so belatedly I report that the Pat and Willard Walker Charitable Foundation is endowing a program that will bring as many as 14,000 school children — not just from Arkansas, and first-come, first-served — to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The full release:

Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Gives $10 million

Bentonville, Ark., Sept. 19, 2011 — When it opens on Nov. 11, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will be more than just a museum — it will be an educational resource for the entire region. Now, thanks to a generous donation from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation of Springdale, Ark., as many as 14,000 school children will be able to experience the new museum in its opening year. The Foundation has established a $10 million endowment to Crystal Bridges that will provide school groups with funds necessary for a complete museum visit.

The Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program will provide schools with funding to cover the cost of transportation, lunches for the students and teachers, substitute teachers and pre- and post-visit educational materials. Funds will be available to all public and private K—12 schools on a first-come, first-served basis beginning in the fall of 2012.

“The Walker Foundation’s donation is a gift to schools all across the region,” said Don Bacigalupi, Crystal Bridges executive director. “Art is an important educational tool for teachers of many subjects, from art and literature to American history and social studies. Subsidies such as these allow us to further our mission of being accessible to even our youngest visitors. The Walker Foundation gift removes the financial barriers for schools and will allow the teachers and students to benefit from all that Crystal Bridges has to offer.”

Each visit will include a one-hour guided tour of the Museum’s permanent collection, a healthy lunch prepared by Eleven, the museum’s restaurant, and a half-hour session in the Experience Studio, a hands-on interactive gallery space. Teachers will be able to choose from several themed tours, each of which is designed to connect with existing curriculum in art, history, social studies, language arts and sciences at a variety of grade levels.
This gift supports the museum’s newly created Next Generation Fund which addresses the economic, social and cultural barriers that often prevent diverse audiences from participating in the arts.

In honor of the Walker Foundation endowment, Crystal Bridges has named its large outdoor patio area “Walker Landing.” The landing—located between the lobby and the Museum’s educational wing—is a multi-purpose area that will accommodate school group lunches, as well as public performances and presentations in the circular waterside amphitheatre.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will begin taking applications for The Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program beginning in spring 2012. For information, schools may email schoolprograms@crystalbridges.org. Complete information about school programming will be continuously updated at www.CrystalBridges.org.

About Crystal Bridges
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of landscape. We explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities.
Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation and set to open 11-11-11, the Museum takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building design by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds will house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Guest amenities will also include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds and a Marlon Blackwell-designed museum store. Sculpture and walking trails will link the Museum's 120-acre park and gardens to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.

The permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits and Maxfield Parrish’s The Lantern Bearers, each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution. Crystal Bridges will continue to grow its collection through the efforts of its professional staff as well as through important gifts from private collectors. The permanent collection, which will be on view year-round, will be further enhanced by an array of ongoing temporary exhibitions.

About the Willard and Pat Walker Family Charitable Foundation
The Willard and Pat Walker Family Charitable Foundation is one of the leading charitable foundations in Arkansas. Gifts from the foundation have benefitted projects and organizations across the state, including UAMS, University of Arkansas Fayetteville and the Washington Regional Medical Center, among many others.

About the Crystal Bridges Next Generation Fund
The Next Generation Fund has been created by community-minded philanthropists who recognize the social, educational and economic barriers that often limit a community’s involvement with a cultural institution, and are also mindful of the importance of protecting the environment for future generations. Through private gifts, the fund will support programs and initiatives at Crystal Bridges that eliminate these barriers by providing and encouraging unhindered public access and subsidizing educational opportunities, while also promoting environmental sustainability.

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