Crystal Bridges Museum Receives $5 Million for Scholars Program, Prize

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, has announced a $5 million commitment from the Tyson family and Tyson Foods, Inc. to establish a scholars program and prize.

The Tyson Scholars of American Art residency and research program is designed promote the study and understanding of American art. In addition to disseminating their research findings through journals, monographs, catalogues, exhibitions, and dissertations, scholars may contribute ideas for Crystal Bridges's own exhibition program. Scholars will have the opportunity to interact with curatorial and research staff as well as the community through lectures, symposia, and collaborations with the University of Arkansas.

The inaugural Tyson Scholars are Matthew Bailey, a doctoral candidate in art history and a Lynn Cooper Harvey fellow in American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis; Jason Weems, an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside, where he specializes in American art and visual culture from the colonial period to the present; and Susan Rather, a tenured professor of art history at the University of Texas, Austin, who will complete a book that examines what it meant to be an American artist during the colonial and early national era.

In addition, the Don Tyson Prize will be given to an individual whose work has significantly advanced knowledge in the field of American art over the course of a career. Crystal Bridges has begun the selection process and enlisted a jury of respected museum and academic art historians to identify the first winner of the prize.

"American art has historically received too little attention from scholars and academic programs as a field of research," said the museum's executive director, Don Bacigalupi. "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."