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Alice Walton Launches $40M Initiative to Increase US Museum Access

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Art Bridges of Bentonville, a national arts nonprofit founded by Alice Walton, on Wednesday announced a $40 million initiative to increase access to 64 museums across the nation.

The “Access for All” initiative covers the costs of free admission days and expanded free hours at the museums, the nonprofit said in a news release. It also supports museum programming, outreach and community partnerships that will “eliminate many common barriers to access.”

Museums participating in the initiative span 36 states and Puerto Rico. They include:

  • Howard University Gallery of Arts in Washington, D.C.
  • Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan
  • Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota
  • Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine
  • San Diego Museum of Art in San Diego, California
  • Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City
  • Wichita Art Museum in Wichita, Kansas
  • Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana

All of the participating museums are members of the nonprofit, and 80% of them have annual operating expenses under $10 million, the release said.

The nonprofit said that Access for All represents a sweeping effort to get people back to museums after COVID-19 hit revenue, staffing and attendance. Many museums are seeing just 71% of their pre-pandemic attendance.

“Everyone, no matter where they live, deserves access to art,” Walton said. That’s why we started Art Bridges: to support museums in deepening their connections with local communities, and to pave the way for new audiences to experience the creativity and joy that comes with seeing art.”

Art Bridges launched in 2017. The nonprofit partners with a growing network of over 220 museums of all sizes and locations, providing financial and strategic support for exhibition development, loans from the Art Bridges Collection, and programs designed to educate and deepen engagement with local audiences.

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