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The Windgate Foundation has provided a $17.5 million gift to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville to fund research, a dedicated position, programmatic support and acquisitions which will bring craft objects into the museum’s permanent collection.
This gift builds upon the Crystal Bridges-organized exhibition, Crafting America, which will debut on Feb. 6 and run through May 31.
“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,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer at Crystal Bridges, in a news release. “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.”
“Contemporary crafts in America are the backbone of the creative community, enabling artists to develop the skills and physically produce the work they envision,” said Robyn Horn, Windgate Foundation Board chair. “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.”
Chief Curator Austen Barron Bailly added, “Windgate Foundation’s advocacy and generosity will sustain our commitment to craft and its importance within the broad contexts of American art. With the new curatorial role and acquisition funds we can embrace the field with new energy and keep advancing craft’s dynamic influence on American art and culture.”