- Providing unprecedented levels of financial support for students in the form of scholarships, travel grants and internship opportunities.
- Engaging the region in outreach and public service through partnerships with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and a variety of community arts organizations.
- Expanding graduate programs and degree offerings in art history, art education and graphic design.
Walton Family Foundation Gift Creates School of Art, Transforms Access to Art in Arkansas
Monday, September 18, 2017on
Originally posted on uark.edu (http://news.uark.edu/articles/39335/visionary-gift-creates-school-of-art-transforms-access-to-art-in-arkansas) The University of Arkansas is pleased to announce an unprecedented gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to establish the School of Art. The foundation has made a $120 million gift, which is the largest ever given to a U.S. university in support of or to establish a school of art. This gift creates the first and only school of art in the state of Arkansas, and will propel art education and research in the state forward while also providing unparalleled access and opportunity to students. The gift will also help position the School of Art as a center of excellence in art education, art history, graphic design and studio art curriculum. Former U.S. Sen. Kaneaster Hodges Jr., president and board member of the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation and University of Arkansas Law School alumnus, said establishing the school underscores the importance of art education. “The School of Art will be constructed as a model for inclusion and diversity,” he said. “It will be built with elements from the top schools and institutes across the country.” “The School of Art will shape a new generation of artists, historians, designers and teachers with a unique understanding of the hope art can bring to communities,” said Alice Walton, chairwoman of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s board. “The unparalleled access to meaningful American art will connect the heartland to the world.” Joseph E. Steinmetz, chancellor of the University of Arkansas, agreed, and said the university is grateful for such a transformative gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. “The newly endowed School of Art will transform the university and region into an international hub for the study of art,” Steinmetz said. “The School of Art will also have an immediate, resounding positive effect on the culture of our entire state, and its imprint will be seen across the nation and beyond.” Steinmetz said the school will also place a strong emphasis on American art and art of the Americas, which uniquely complements the mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, located in nearby Bentonville. “The vision to create the School of Art could not have come to fruition without the cooperative, close and mutually beneficial relationship between the world-class Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the university,” he said. “With an emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaborations and signature outreach efforts with the museum, and a focus on student, faculty and staff diversity, the school will be uniquely positioned to develop programs to rival the top competitors in the field.” Additionally, the school will be housed within the university’s J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, whose namesake is the former University of Arkansas president and U.S. senator known for recognizing the power of effecting global peace through international understanding and education. Steinmetz said this will further serve to catalyze and augment international art exchange programs throughout the Americas. The $120 million gift will be allocated to three primary goals: