University Of Arkansas Receives $120 Million Gift From Walton Foundation To Establish Art School

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- The University of Arkansas announced on Wednesday (Aug. 23) that a multi-million gift will allow them to establish a School of Art.

The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation donated $120 million to the U of A, which will be used to create the first and only art school in Arkansas, according to a university media release.

This is the largest donation ever given to a U.S. university to support or establish an art school, and will provide students numerous opportunities and access to learning.

"The newly endowed School of Art will transform the university and region into an international hub for the study of art,” said Joseph Steinmetz, U of A chancellor. “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.”

The school will put an emphasis on American art and art from the Americas, Steinmetz said.

“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.”

The art school will be housed in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

The gift will go toward three primary goals:

    • 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.