Alice Walton, Walmart heir, through her foundation Art Bridges, is donating $40 million to 64 museums across the United States to help attract more visitors.
Driving the news: The donations, each ranging from $56,000 to over $2 million over a three-year period, are part of an initiative called “Access for All”, aimed at funding programs that bring in new audiences.
* The grants can be used for purposes such as extending free hours or offering free meals.
* The pandemic’s impact on museums and the general public was Walton’s motivation for the initiative.
The big picture: According to the American Alliance of Museums, while nearly half of museums project an increase this year to their bottom lines, two-thirds report that attendance is down 30% from pre-pandemic levels.
* Walton hopes these grants will give museums the opportunity to focus on long-term sustainability and reach deeper into their communities.
Who said what: Some recipients of the grants, such as the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and the Howard University Gallery of Art, shared how they plan to use the funding.
* María C. Gaztambide, executive director of Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, said the grant is “transformational” and will be put towards extending free hours and creating family days.
* Co-director of the Howard University Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., Kathryn Coney-Ali, plans to use the grant to create an interdisciplinary fine arts festival and bilingual programming.
Note: While Walton believes all museums should offer free admission, some recipients of the grants explain why that may not be feasible for them, citing issues such as high energy costs.
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