Wal-Mart Family Donates $800M to Art Museum

Biggest-ever cash donation to art museum in US
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 6, 2011 8:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s family will give a record $800 million to his daughter’s new art museum, marking the biggest-ever cash donation to an art museum in the US. It’s a gift that reflects the family's high hopes for Alice Walton’s 201,000-square-foot Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which consists of eight pavilions in the company's hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, population 35,301, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Opening Nov. 11, the museum hopes to cover the full history of American art, from the 17th century to the present—among new museums, a rare curatorial feat. The younger Walton has worked for six years on the project, shelling out vast sums to start its collection, which now numbers about 400 works, said its executive director. The giant donation will be divided as such: $325 million for buying more art; $350 million for operating costs, which are expected to be $16 million a year; and $125 million for future maintenance. “No matter how you slice it, it's a staggering gift,” says a philanthropy expert. (Read more art museum stories.)

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