Walmart heir wants museums to attract more people and donates $40 million to help

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.

View original article on NPR

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