Walton Arts Center officials have announced two more donations toward the center’s $23 million expansion and renovation project.
Tyson Foods, Inc. and General Mills donated $500,000 apiece toward the project.
The gifts are the latest in a list of major contributions, including $5 million from the Walton Family Foundation, $1.5 million from the Walmart Foundation, $1 million from Marti and Kelly Sudduth of Bentonville and $500,000 from J.B. Hunt Transport.
Another $6.3 million comes from HMR bonds approved by voters in November 2013.
Tyson Foods, Inc.
Since Walton Arts Center opened, Tyson Foods has sponsored season programming, education programs and various capital projects. This gift will rename the renovated exterior Tyson Plaza and name the primary entry from the Dickson Street entrance as the Tyson Entrance. The renovation and expansion of the facility will transform Tyson Plaza into a new linear plaza along Dickson Street and West Avenue.
“In the last few years our region’s population has grown by nearly 8 percent, versus the 3 percent nationwide average,” said Sara Lilygren, Tyson’s executive vice president of corporate affairs. “Needless to say, this area is booming. We find it so important to give back to this community, and we’re delighted to support access to cultural and recreational assets like the Walton Arts Center.”
General Mills has been a supporter of the center since 2003. Their sponsorship has focused on educational programming, concerts, and capital projects. This donation will rename the box office to the General Mills Box Office.
“Much like our mission of Nourishing Lives, Walton Arts Center is working to nourish the lives of the community by bringing arts and culture to our area,” said Adam Dill, vice president of sales for General Mills. “We are proud to support the expansion efforts and investing in the future of the Walton Arts Center with this contribution.”
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.
Work is expected to be completed in fall 2016.