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.”