History made: Last month, the Walton Family Foundation donated the largest sum ever given to any U.S. university art program.
The $120 million gift from the chartiable enterprise started by the family of late Walmart founder Sam Walton will facilitate the creation of the University of Arkansas School of Art.
"This gift creates the first and only school of art in the state of Arkansas," said Todd Shields, dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, where the UA School of Art will be housed. "[It] will propel art education, research and creative activity in the state forward while also providing unparalleled access and opportunity to students."
The generous donation will be used to expand the Fine Arts Library and renovate the university's historic Fine Arts Center, which was designed by Edward Durrell Stone. The money will also provide student scholarships, travel grants and internship opportunities, expand graduate programs, degree offerings, and much more.
The school's curriculum will emphasize American art and art of the Americas. It will take five years for the school to be entirely phased in.
And this isn't the first time the foundation has donated to the University of Arkansas – in 2002, $300 million was given to endow an undergraduate honors college and graduate school.