$5m Crystal Bridges endowment announced
Posted: September 19, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
Updated: September 19, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.
The Tyson family and Tyson Foods have announced a $5 million endowment for a scholar-in-residence program Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, officials announced at a news conference Wednesday morning.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in its inaugural year, has received a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc., to establish the Tyson Scholars of American Art and the Don Tyson Prize.
Tyson Scholars is a research and residency program that will help promote the study and understanding of American art, while the Don Tyson Prize is a special recognition for lifetime achievement in American art.
Research residency programs provide scholars the opportunity to focus on large-scale projects without the interruptions of their regular professional duties. With the Tyson Scholars of American Art program, Crystal Bridges joins other national institutions, such as the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and the Getty Research Institute, in supporting research that contributes to the overall body of knowledge in the field of American art history.
“American art has historically received too little attention from scholars and academic programs as a field of research,” said Don Bacigalupi, executive director of Crystal Bridges. “Funding for its study has been sadly limited. Here at Crystal Bridges, we have made it part of our mission to help improve that situation. Thanks to the generosity of the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, our museum will be able to develop and foster a community of scholars committed to furthering the understanding and appreciation of American art.
“In addition, through the Don Tyson Prize, named in honor of the late Don Tyson, former chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, we’ll also be able to honor people who have advanced American art during their career,” said Bacigalupi.
“We’re proud to help establish this unique scholars program and the lifetime achievement award named in honor of my dad,” said John H. Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods. “This gift reflects our long-held love of art as well as our belief in the importance of education. It also demonstrates how much we value the mission of Crystal Bridges and what this incredible museum means to northwest Arkansas and the rest of the nation.”
The Tyson family’s interest in American art began with Don Tyson’s love of traditional American Western art, which he started collecting in the 1960s. His son, John H. Tyson, is also an avid collector. Over the past 20 years he has significantly expanded and diversified what has now become the Tyson Foods corporate collection. It includes the works of such artists as Ansel Adams, Troy Anderson, Thomas Hart Benton, Charlie Dye, Sam Francis, Harry Jackson, Frank McCarthy, Charles M. Russell, Andy Warhol and Jack Woods.
Officials also announced a $65,000 Don Tyson Prize, which will be awarded for lifetime achievement in advancing knowledge of American art.
“American art has historically received too little attention from scholars and academic programs as a field of research,” said Don Bacigalupi, executive director of Crystal Bridges. “Funding for its study has been sadly limited. Here at Crystal Bridges, we have made it part of our mission to help improve that situation."
Tyson Scholars can serve multiple semester-long residencies and receive stipends for travel and research, according to a new release.
The first three scholars, announced Wednesday, are:
- Matthew Bailey of St. Louis, Mo.
- Jason Weems of Riverside, Calif.
- Susan Rather of Austin, Texas
The selection process is underway for the first Don Tyson Prize, according to the news release.