Crystal Bridges Announces $5 Million Endowment

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Wednesday announced a $5 million endowment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods to establish the Tyson Scholars of American Art and the Don Tyson Prize.

“We’re proud to help establish this unique scholars program and the lifetime achievement award named in honor of my dad,” John Tyson, chairman of Springdale-based Tyson Foods, said in a news release.  “This gift reflects our long-held love of art as well as our belief in the importance of education. It also demonstrates how much we value the mission of Crystal Bridges and what this incredible museum means to northwest Arkansas and the rest of the nation.”

Tyson scholars will be selected by a committee of art historians and Crystal Bridges staff members and will conduct research on American art, the release states.

“Residencies such as the Tyson Scholars program provide scholars a rich and immersive experience that is integral to their academic and professional work,” Elizabeth Glassman, president and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art, said in the release. “Having sustained exposure to Crystal Bridges’ exemplary collection, its library and a distinguished community of scholars creates a trifecta of opportunity, affording participants a truly unparalleled experience for deepening insights. Congratulations to Crystal Bridges for establishing this rich mix in their community.”

The first Tyson Scholars are Matthew Bailey of St. Louis, Susan Rather of Austin, Texas, and Jason Weems of Riverside, Calif.

The Tyson Prize recognizes a lifetime achievement in American Art.

“American art has historically received too little attention from scholars and academic programs as a field of research,” Don Bacigalupi, executive director of Crystal Bridges, said in the release.  “Funding for its study has been sadly limited. Here at Crystal Bridges, we have made it part of our mission to help improve that situation. Thanks to the generosity of the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, our museum will be able to develop and foster a community of scholars committed to furthering the understanding and appreciation of American art

“In addition, through the Don Tyson Prize, named in honor of the late Don Tyson, former chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, we’ll also be able to honor people who have advanced American art during their career,” he said.

Crystal Bridges opened in Bentonville in Nov. 11, 2011.