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Arkansas to Establish First University Arts School with $120 Million Gift

The University of Arkansas has received an historic $120 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise launched by the family of late Walmart founder Sam Walton. The donation will support the establishment of the state’s first art school. In a statement, the university said this will “transform access to art in Arkansas.”

The School of Art will offer graduate programs and degrees in art history, art education, and graphic design, with an emphasis on American art and art of the Americas; support students financially with scholarships, grants, and internship opportunities; and partner with other institutions such as the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which was founded by the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation in 2005.

“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 the board of Crystal Bridges. “The unparalleled access to meaningful American art will connect the heartland to the world.”

In 2002, the foundation gave the University of Arkansas $300 million, one of the largest gifts given to a US public higher education university, for its undergraduate honors college and graduate school programs.

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