With recent announcements of admission and membership fee increases, seeing art at some museums has gotten more expensive this summer. But a $20 million donation from Wal-Mart will allow Crystal Bridges to buck that trend. The grant will allow Alice Walton's Bentonville, Arkansas museum to offer free admission.
The museum had been considering a $10 adult admission fee prior to its receipt of the grant.
Walmat CEO Mike Duke said of the donation:
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.
Crystal Bridges executive director, Don Bacigalupi also commented, saying:
One of the greatest challenges for museums today is finding ways to remove barriers to community participation, including admission charges. 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.
The grant will be dispersed over the next five years and is meant to increase access to art regardless of socio-economic position. The goal of the museum is 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."
The museum will open on 11-11-11. To find out more information visit the museum's website here.