Walton Arts Center announces two more donations for Fayetteville expansion

Artist’s rendering of an expanded Walton Arts Center on Dickson Street

Boora Architects

Walton Arts Center officials have announced two more donations toward the center’s $23 million expansion and renovation project.

Bentonville couple Marti and Kelly Sudduth donated $1 million toward the project, and J.B. Hunt Transport donated a $500,000 gift.

The project is expected to add 30,000 square feet of space, including a new and expanded atrium lobby on Dickson Street, renovations and an expansion of Starr Theater, more space for backstage technical and theatrical equipment, and new administrative offices.

Walton Arts Center CEO Peter Lane (left) and J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts

Photo: Randi Cruz

“Northwest Arkansas is an amazing place to live, and we believe the Walton Arts Center is a vital part of our community,” said Marti Sudduth. “We are inspired by the spirit of giving we have observed since this became our home six years ago.”

The couple moved to Northwest Arkansas about six years ago from Tulsa, Oklahoma to be near their family. They frequently attend shows at the Walton Arts Center with their children and grandchildren.

In recognition for their donation, a new event space will be named the Sudduth Garden Room that connects with the existing Walton Arts Center Rose Garden.

According to a news release, J.B. Hunt has been a longtime supporter of the arts center through the company’s bussing subsidy program which helps transport students to the facility for performances.

“J.B. Hunt has been a generous supporter of transporting kids to Walton Arts Center for over two decades,” said Peter Lane, WAC president and CEO. “Their investment in the capital campaign strengthens the performing arts in Northwest Arkansas.”

Other funding for the project includes a $1.5 million grant from the Walmart Foundation, and a $5 million donation from the Walton Family Foundation. Another $6.3 million comes from HMR bonds approved by Fayetteville voters in November 2013.

The project is expected to be completed in fall 2016.