Olivia Walton Replaces Alice Walton as Crystal Bridges Board Leader

Olivia Walton Replaces Alice Walton as Crystal Bridges Board Leader
Olivia Walton, who is replacing Alice Walton is chairperson of the board of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. (Beth Hall)

Walton family member Olivia Walton is replacing Alice Walton as chairperson of the board of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the museum announced.

The elder Walton, who has led the museum since it opened 10 years ago, will transition to a role as a board member. She said in a news release that she'd like to focus more fully on her board responsibilities after founding other groups focused on the arts and well-being in recent years.

Olivia Walton has been a board member since 2019 and is the executive board chair of the Momentary, the museum's satellite contemporary arts space that opened last year. She'll continue as chair of the Momentary while leading the Crystal Bridges board.

Alice said she's "delighted" to have Olivia, who is married to her nephew Tom, succeed her. 

"Not only does she have a lifelong interest in and passion for the arts, but she has also gained significant experience through her leadership of the Momentary as well as serving as a Crystal Bridges board member," Alice said in the release. "She’ll be an excellent leader of the museum’s board and will capably guide Crystal Bridges into its next decade.”

Olivia is a principal of Ingeborg Investments and a co-founder of the Heartland Summit, Heartland Forward's annual gathering of health care leaders and policymakers. She's also a member of the national board of directors for Teach for America and a former journalist who worked at NBC News, MSNBC and Bloomberg.

Olivia holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s from the London School of Economics.

She takes over as the museum embarks on a 100,000-SF expansion with an estimated cost of over $100 million. The new space will increase capacity for exhibitions, educational and outreach initiatives, cultural programming and events. The museum hopes to begin construction on the expansion early next year and finish in 2025.

“I am a big believer in Alice’s vision to create access for all and to welcome all,” Olivia said in the release. “I’m excited to continue our work to expand our physical space, expand our definition of art, and ensure that visitors feel a sense of belonging at both Crystal Bridges and the Momentary.”

The nonprofit museum in Bentonville was a major catalyst for economic and artistic growth in northwest Arkansas. More than 5 million people have visited the the 200,000-SF museum in the past 10 years. 

“Crystal Bridges and the Momentary are wonderful gifts to our community, and Alice and Olivia Walton’s leadership have guided these institutions to become what they are today,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer. “Alice has brought a vision for art in the Heartland to life, and Olivia is carrying that forward as these organizations continue to serve our region and country.”

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