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Walmart Donates $20 Million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to Sponsor Admission

BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 28, 2011
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art today announced a $20 million grant from Walmart to cover admission fees for all visitors. Prior to the grant, a $10 admission fee was being considered for adults.

“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 Walmart 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.”

“One of the greatest challenges for museums today is finding ways to remove barriers to community participation, including admission charges,” said Don Bacigalupi, Crystal Bridges executive director. “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.”

Given over a period of five years, the grant is the first gift dedicated to 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.

“The arts should be an essential part of every child’s education,” First Lady Ginger Beebe said. “When Crystal Bridges opens on 11-11-11, it will be an incredible resource, and now it will be free to all who visit. The outstanding art found there will encourage young people by expanding their creativity, giving them an invaluable outlet for self-expression, and helping to develop greater artistic literacy.”

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 creek-fed ponds will house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Visitor amenities will also include a café 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, Ark.

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 and will be on view to the public year-round. The Museum also will display a changing array of special exhibitions featuring art from museums and collections throughout the region, the nation and abroad. Memberships are now available. For more information, visit crystalbridges.org.

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.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better. From Feb. 1, 2010 through Jan. 31, 2011, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave $732 million in cash and in-kind gifts, including donating 257 million pounds of nutritious food to local food banks across America. The Foundation also supports education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability and health and wellness initiatives. Internationally, Walmart gave $66 million in cash and in-kind gifts to charitable organizations. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

veronica.bagwell@crystalbridges.org'
Veronica Bagwell
Digital Media Designer

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