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October 16, 2017

University of Arkansas Begins Search for School of Art Director

FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANAS—The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville has begun a search for a director to lead its School of Art, Jaime Adame reports for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. The school will be the first of its kind in Arkansas and will offer graduate and undergraduate degree programs in fine arts, graphic design, art education, and art history. The director, whose tenure is expected to begin in spring 2018, will be tasked with creating “a signature program that uniquely positions [the school] as the place for the study of and research in American art and the art of the Americas.”

In August 2017, Alice Walton and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation donated $120 million to fund the school’s creation from the current Department of Art and housed in the university’s J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. The donation is the largest such gift to any university in the United States in support of its art programs. The Department of Art is led by interim director Jeannie Hulen and enrolls more than four hundred students with thirty-six faculty and staff; the donation will create twenty-six new faculty positions over the next five years.

The Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation is the philanthropic organization created by the family of the founders of Wal-Mart. The foundation has supported and created numerous cultural and educational organizations, most notably the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in nearby Bentonville, which opened in 2011 and of which Alice Walton serves as chairwoman.

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