The Walton Family Foundation this week awarded a $5 million challenge grant in support of the Investing in our Future: The Expansion of Walton Arts Center capital campaign.
The $23 million campaign of the Walton Arts Center will help pay for 30,000 square feet of space, including a new and expanded atrium lobby that connects to Dickson Street, significant renovations and expansion of Starr Theater, expanded space for back of house technical and theatrical equipment, and new administrative offices. These enhancements will modernize the facility and create a destination for more arts, special events, community gatherings and educational programming in the Fayetteville facility.
The goal is to complete the Dickson Street renovation by fall 2016. Heavy construction of the main lobby and Starr Theater will occur during the off-peak summer months of 2015 and 2016 to minimize the impact on regular programming and ensure the arts center has a full season.
"We are honored to receive a $5 million challenge grant from the Walton Family Foundation,” said Peter B. Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center. "The Walton Family Foundation has been a generous supporter of the Walton Arts Center since the beginning. The foundation’s participation in this capital campaign represents a strong vote of confidence in our future in Fayetteville, and the future of the arts in Northwest Arkansas."
Funds from the challenge gift will be matched by contributions from other donors in order to reach the $23 million goal.
Formed out of a unique partnership between the University of Arkansas and the City of Fayetteville, the Walton Arts Center opened in 1992 as a non-profit organization. Since opening its doors, the Walton Family Foundation has generously supported Walton Arts Center, allowing the center to diversify programming initiatives while steadily increasing annual attendance. THe Walton Family Foundation and the Walton Arts Center have worked to fulfill the demand for high quality arts and entertainment in Northwest Arkansas.
Arts access and education programs have increased and Northwest Arkansas has received national recognition in the arts. The Walton Family Foundation’s support has strengthened the Walton Arts Center as an organization and broadened the center's capacity to continue providing arts services to the community.
"With lead gifts such as this from the Walton Family Foundation, the Walton Arts Center's campaign is off to a very strong start," Lane said. "We are now expanding and intensifying our fundraising efforts to build on this generosity. We hope that this campaign will not only succeed in increasing support for the Walton Arts Center, but with increased programming, we will serve even more members of our community.”