The Bridge Ahead Initiative

New funding initiative supports museum partners during COVID-19 pandemic.

Press release

Art Bridges announces Bridge Ahead Initiative in support of museum partners during COVID-19 pandemic

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Art Bridges, a foundation dedicated to expanding access to American art in all regions across the nation, is committing $5 million* to its partner museums as they face implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bridge Ahead Initiative recognizes that Art Bridges partner museums, many of which are located in small and mid-sized communities, are facing serious financial challenges posed by COVID-19 closures. Funding will be distributed following a simple application process.

“Art Bridges is committed to supporting our partners as they provide greater access to American art in their communities, even while their doors are closed,” said Art Bridges Founder and Board Chair Alice Walton. “We believe staying connected is important now and in the future, so we’re launching the Bridge Ahead Initiative to assist Art Bridges’ partners right away.”

Funds from the $5 million Bridge Ahead Initiative will be distributed in two phases. The first will support partner museums as they develop engagement opportunities and programs to connect with their communities remotely, while the public collectively stays at home. The second phase will provide support as museums prepare to reopen.

“Our partners ­– museums of all sizes across the country – are doing important work increasing access to American art,” said Paul Provost, CEO of Art Bridges. “We hope the Bridge Ahead Initiative will address their needs, provide a platform for them to reach their audiences now, and help them when they reopen.”

To apply, current and former Art Bridges partners will fill out a short application outlining their proposal, goals, target audiences and budget. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, beginning Monday, May 11, until all funds are disbursed. More information is available at

The Bridge Ahead Initiative complements Art Bridges’ ongoing support of its partners. From the earliest days of the COVID-19 response in the U.S., Art Bridges has been working with its partners to adjust and adapt funding requirements to meet the specific needs of each organization. Art Bridges’ support of partner museums and previously approved funding for programs remain intact.

About Art Bridges

Art Bridges is the vision of philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton. Since 2018 Art Bridges has been creating and supporting programs that expand access to American art in all regions across the nation.

The foundation strives to bring great works of American art out of storage and into communities. Art Bridges partners with a growing network of nearly 130 museums of all sizes and locations, providing financial and strategic support for exhibition development, collection loans and programs designed to engage new audiences.

Art Bridges funds projects that inspire deeper relationships between arts organizations and their communities, develop expanded relationships built on inclusivity and respect, and encourage meaningful personal connections that lead to stronger, more vibrant cities and towns.

*Editor’s note: In July, the Bridge Ahead Initiative commitment was increased to $6 million.

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Article Information

Published May 6, 2020