Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville has received a $10 million commitment from the Alice L. Walton Foundation to develop “the next generation of arts leadership.”
A museum press release issued Thursday described the gift as one of the largest endowments in the country of its kind. The donation will enable Crystal Bridges to expand its “Commitment to Future Arts Leaders” internship program, which provides students with hands-on learning at the museum and its satellite contemporary-arts space, The Momentary.
“Five years ago, we strengthened an already successful internship program to focus on hiring and nurturing leaders from diverse backgrounds. Today, we recognize there is still work to do,” said Alice Walton, founder, board member and chair emeritus of Crystal Bridges. “I believe it’s essential for museums to build an inclusive culture, and in order to do so, it’s imperative to educate and develop future arts leaders.”
The endowment will enable the museum to hire an administrator focused solely on the internship program. Crystal Bridges is partnering with Spelman College of Atlanta and Fisk University in Nashville (Tenn.) to recruit interns from populations currently underrepresented in arts leadership.
“This generous gift embodies everything I’ve known Alice to care about as a museum leader and arts patron – access, diversity, and nurturing the next generation, a representative generation, of arts leaders,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer at the museum. “This gift asks Crystal Bridges to continually sharpen its focus on diverse student learners and helps to establish a new standard in the field.”