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Alice Walton

Alice Walton

Founder, Art Bridges
American Federation of Arts Gala & Cultural Leadership Awards 2016

Alice Walton, the 70-year-old heir to the Walmart fortune built by her father, Sam Walton, is using her $53 billion fortune to promote widespread access to great art.

One of today’s most prominent arts patrons, Walton launched a foundation called Art Bridges in 2017. Collaborating with museums and institutions of all sizes and in all regions of the country, Art Bridges is creating and funding exhibitions, bringing together art from museums, private collections, foundations and a collection established as a part of Art Bridges.

Metropolitan Museum of Art trustee Charles Diker and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker are on Art Bridges’ star-studded board of directors. “Outstanding artworks are in museum vaults and private collections,” Walton has said. “Let’s make that art available to everyone.”

Walton, reportedly the second-richest woman in the world, represents a new generation of philanthropy that seeks to support more diverse artists and make work more accessible. In 2011, prior to launching Art Bridges, she founded the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in her hometown of Bentonville, Ark.—an area not previously known for ambitious cultural institutions.

Walton is an avid collector of American art and has significant holdings of work by such artists as Thomas Cole, John Singer Sargent, Marsden Hartley and Norman Rockwell.

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