Walton Arts Center Receives $9.8M Grant

Walton Arts Center Receives $9.8M Grant
Walton Arts Center (File photo) (Miles Witt Boyer)

The Walton Arts Center has received a $9.8 million Shuttered Venue Operators Grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The grant will be used for payroll and benefits, administrative expenses and funds for this summer’s showings at the Walton Arts Center and the Walmart AMP in Rogers. The center said it shut down early in the COVID-19 pandemic and lost approximately 90% of its revenue from loss of ticket sales, concessions and events scheduling.

The center developed a recovery plan to raise $22.5 million to resume operations. It raised $6.8 million in 2020 through donations and grants, and hopes to raise $8.7 million in 2021.

“We could not have endured this year without the support of our community,” Walton Arts Center CEO Peter Lane said. “So many people understood that we were providing programming because it was what the community needed at the time, and it was not generating revenue for us. The belief in our mission and our organization especially in the middle of a pandemic is amazing.

“We are extremely grateful to our Arkansas legislators and to the leadership of Senator [John] Boozman who was instrumental in supporting this bipartisan legislation in support of our nation’s most critical arts organizations. We hope other Arkansas arts organizations can benefit from the program and start back on their road to recovery.”