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Sep/Oct 2011 Issue

Crystal Bridges receives grant for admission

When Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art opens later this year in Bentonville, Ark., more visitors will have access to its impressive fine art collection thanks to a $20 million grant from Walmart.

The grant will be given over five years and will ensure free admission for all museum visitors. It is the first gift dedicated to the museum’s Next Generation Fund that addresses economic, social and cultural barriers that can prevent diverse audiences from participating in the arts.

Don Bacigalupi, executive director at Crystal Bridges, said admission charges to museums across the country are rising–sometimes as high as $25 per person– which bars many community members from enjoying the cultural offering.

“Walmart has shown extraordinary vision and foresight in creating access to this museum and providing all that Crystal Bridges has to offer to all people at no cost for the lifetime of the museum,” he said.

Founded in 2005 by Alice Walton– daughter of the late Walmart founder Sam Walton–and the Walton Family Foundation, the museum takes its name from a nearby natural spring, with the bridge construction incorporated in design by well-known architect Moshe Safdie. The museum’s opening is scheduled for Nov. 11, 2011.

For more information about the museum, click on or call (479) 418-5700.

Crystal Bridges

A model of the much-anticipated museum. Arkansas Parks and Tourism photo


Go West this fall with Pleasant Holidays

Autumn in the South, with cooler temperatures and turning leaves, is a great time to explore the region. But when colder weather or rain comes and you’d like to escape somewhere later this year, you don’t have to leave the U.S. to enjoy fantastic weather, beautiful scenery and amazing food. Think California.

Most of the Golden State boasts a warm, nearly idyllic climate year-round, and with such diversity, you won’t have any trouble finding a destination to suit your interests.

Go “star gazing” in the middle of the day and soak up some sun on the beaches around Los Angeles and Orange County. Hit the links around Palm Springs or see the new whale and sea turtle attractions at Sea World in San Diego. Drink in the stunning beauty of the Napa and Sonoma areas while experiencing a wine-tasting tour.

One of AAA’s preferred travel partners for Hawaii and other tropical getaways, Pleasant Holidays, now offers packages in the continental U.S. Bundle air, hotel and car rental (AAA members receive $25 off a Hertz vehicle) with Pleasant Holidays and take the stress out of traveling to the West Coast. Many hotels within Pleasant’s network are pet friendly, too.

For more information, contact your AAA Travel agent, call (888) 366-4222 or click on


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