Windgate Foundation donates $17.5 million to Crystal Bridges

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,670 views 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Photo credit: Michael Barera.

Windgate Foundation, a private, family foundation based in Little Rock, has donated $17.5 million to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville to support American craft.

The money will advance the field of American craft through a dedicated position, research, programmatic support and an acquisition fund to bring craft objects into the museum’s permanent collection. This gift builds upon the Crystal Bridges-organized exhibition, “Crafting America.”  The exhibit launches Feb. 6, 2021, and runs through May 31, 2021.

Crystal Bridges officials made the announcement Wednesday (Nov. 11), the museum’s ninth anniversary.

“Today, as we reflect on the nine years Crystal Bridges has been open to the public, we are grateful to the visionaries at Windgate Foundation, who have been champions of craft and fervent supporters of arts education at the museum,” Rod Bigelow, the museum’s executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer, said in a statement. “The foundation’s significant contribution will further the work and impact of the “Crafting America” exhibition and expand conversations about American art, history and culture.

“Craft is important for Crystal Bridges and aligns with our mission because it is an inherently inclusive field that has been more accessible to women, people of color, immigrants, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalized communities.”

Through a shared vision with the foundation, Crystal Bridges seeks to raise the profile and visibility of craft by creating broad access to craft at Crystal Bridges and beyond. These new resources will help the museum champion artists, scholars and collectors, and facilitate partnerships across the field. Importantly, the gift will allow Crystal Bridges to leverage curatorial expertise and art historical knowledge, position craft within the museum’s educational programs, and advance diversity and inclusion inherent to craft.

“Contemporary crafts in America are the backbone of the creative community, enabling artists to develop the skills and physically produce the work they envision,” Robyn Horn, Windgate Foundation Board Chair, said in a statement. “It is reassuring that Crystal Bridges acknowledges this fact and will begin to collect contemporary objects as well as displaying them with their upcoming “Crafting America” exhibition.

“Windgate Foundation has long been a supporter of American craft and we are pleased to partner with Crystal Bridges in encouraging their visitors to learn about these incredible objects.”

“Crafting America” features over 100 works in ceramics, fiber, wood, metal, glass, and more, highlighting the work of artists such as Ruth Asawa, Peter Voulkos, Jeffrey Gibson and Sonya Clark