Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Bridges Museum Establishes Fund for Education Initiatives with $15 Million Gift

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas announced today that it received a $15 million gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation in support of its education initiatives. The institution will use the donation to set up the Arts Endowed Fund, which will work toward identifying challenges that schools are facing today and developing arts-based initiatives to overcome them.

“The Windgate Foundation has been visionary in advancing education through the arts,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Crystal Bridges. “We are honored to receive this generous gift that allows us to address learning outcomes through innovative approaches. This fund is precedent-setting in drawing upon art museums’ unique resources as a catalyst for change.”

An advisory board was established to determine which issues the fund would address. It consists of Sarah Cunningham, executive director for research at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts and founding director of the Arts Research Institute; David A. Dik, national executive director of Young Audiences Arts for Learning; Jean Hendrickson, Oklahoma A+ Schools director emeritus; Sage Morgan-Hubbard, Ford W. Bell Fellow for Museums and P–12 Education at the American Alliance of Museums; Dr. Deborah B. Reeve, executive director of the National Art Education Association; Mario Rossero, senior vice president for education at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Sherman Whites, director of education initiatives at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; and Jane Best, director of the Arts Education Partnership and board chair.

During the inaugural meeting on May 10, the board decided on its first project: the School Partnership Program, a multiyear collaboration that looks at how the arts can support academic outcomes, and the impact that the arts and art museums can have upon social and emotional development. Over the next year, the program will collaborate with more than twenty schools and focus on professional development for teachers and on creating artist residencies.