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Crystal Bridges: Alice Walton’s $488-Million Museum

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Crystal Bridges: the plan

In its recently file appeals brief arguing for a proposed $30-million deal with Alice Walton‘s planned Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, Arkansas, Fisk University sought to convince the Tennessee Court of Appeals that the in-construction institution will be a solid collection-sharing partner.

Using information supplied in the legal deposition of Bob Workman, the museum’s executive director, Fisk’s brief revealed some illuminating financial details about the much anticipated museum-in-progress:

Crystal Bridges has the personal financial backing of Alice Walton, who considers her obligation to be binding. Alice Walton and members of her family and a family foundation have given $317,000,000 to Crystal Bridges for the development of the Museum.

Crystal Bridges has $488,000,000 in assets, of which $138,000,000 are liquid assets. The Museum, scheduled to open in 2010, will have 32,000 square feet of exhibition spaces with space for 200 to 300 art works on exhibition.

But will it really open in 2010? According to the Arkansas museum’s What’s Going On? blog, a “frequently asked question” is, “When will Crystal Bridges open? The short answer is we already are!”

That’s because the museum has a satellite outpost in downtown Bentonville, featuring a scale model of the facility designed by Moshe Safdie and recent construction photos, as well as lectures, films and small exhibitions.

So that gives us the “short answer.” Now, what’s the update on the long answer?

an ArtsJournal blog