Art Bridges Foundation—a ‘Museum Without Walls’—Is Bringing Its Collection to Venues Across the U.S.

Through a range of projects, initiatives, and partnerships, Art Bridges continues to expand access to American art nationwide.

Installation view of "In Conversation: Will Wilson" at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR. Courtesy of Art Bridges.

Founded in 2017 by Alice Walton, the Art Bridges Foundation has established itself as a “museum without walls,” holding a collection of more than 120 artworks dating from the 19th century to today, and a full slate of institutional programs and partnerships. In the six years since its founding, Art Bridges has maintained a mission centered on expanding access to the arts across all regions of the United States.

Will Wilson, Will Wilson, Citizen of the Navajo Nation, Trans-customary Diné Artist (2013, printed 2018). Photo: Brad Flowers. Courtesy of Art Bridges.

To date, Art Bridges has organized dozens of traveling exhibitions that have gone on view throughout America, allowing a broad range of visitors and art lovers to see and engage with art that may otherwise been out of reach. Operating from a place of collaboration and mutual support, Art Bridges is able to leverage both their own collection, through collection loan partnerships, as well as curatorial expertise to work with a diverse range of museums, institutions, and other cultural establishments to bring together important and intriguing exhibitions that defy the boundaries of their home institutions.

Comprised of works from their own collection as well as from the collections of partnering museums, these exhibitions have the opportunity to be experienced by a diverse audience, and bring to light artworks that play a significant role both in the art historical canon as well as the development of contemporary art in America today.

Will Wilson, Michelle Cook, Citizen of the Navajo Nation, UNM Law Student (2013, printed 2018). Photo: Brad Flowers. Courtesy of Art Bridges.

Some current exhibitions supported by Art Bridges, and that feature works from the foundation’s own collection, include “Sonic Presence (or Absence): Sound in Contemporary Art” at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, and “In Conversation: Will Wilson” at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture, Knoxville—the latter of which will continue to travel through 2026. Providing support in all aspects of exhibition development, from ideation to production, Art Bridges is positioned as a conduit for new and evolving ways of thinking around art and its presentation, with the values of equitability and accessibility remaining at the fore.

Installation view of “Sonic Presence (or Absence): Sound in Contemporary Art” (2023–24). Photo: Carlos Avendantho. Courtesy of Art Bridges.

Alongside its ever-growing permanent collection, its collection loan partnerships, and traveling exhibitions, Art Bridges has also situated itself as a bastion of professional development and training. Participants in Art Bridges’ Fellows Program are able to join a partner museum for a term of three years to contribute and learn from current projects, and the annual Internship Program provides over the course of a summer hands-on work experience for the incoming generation of museum professionals.

Despite its comparative newness within the field, Art Bridges already promises to continue to expand on its mission of inclusivity and accessibility, with more exhibitions and programs slated and a growing collection primed to be seen the country over.

Learn more about Art Bridges programming and initiative here.

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