ARTS & CULTURE
11/08/2011 03:31 pm ET | Updated Jan 07, 2012

Wal-Mart Meets Art, Heiress' Museum Set To Open, Despite Critics

At this point, Alice Walton knows how to brush off the critics. After unveiling plans for the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, Walton faced a barrage of questions about Walmart's involvement in the project and her own vision for a major museum, but has emerged more or less unscathed.

Crystal Bridges is set to become an important part of the American art scene, despite gripes from the coasts and other, more established cultural centers. While coastal museum-goers might joke that the Wal-Mart-supported, heartland art hub is bound to feature Thomas Kinkade retrospectives, the collection has turned out to be relatively progressive. A Soundsuit by artist Nick Cave serves as an avant-garde advertisement for the museum, revealing the collection's penchant for the contemporary.

Still, some critics have cut deeply on the museum's practice of bidding on cultural heirlooms that public institutions could no longer afford to keep. She famously purchased Asher B. Durand's "Kindred Spirits" from the New York Public Library for a reported $35 million, leading Wall Street Journal writer Lee Rosenbaum to refer to her as a "hovering culture vulture, poised to swoop down and seize tasty masterpieces from weak hands."

View an in-depth interview below, in which Alice Walton addresses criticism of Crystal Bridges, and read more on the CBS News page for the interview. With a $20 million gift from Wal-Mart, admission to the Moshe Safdie-designed museum will be free. It is scheduled to open Veterans Day, November 11.