Alice Walton: The Art Collector and Philanthropist
Alice Walton is a well-known American art collector and philanthropist, best known for her extensive collection of contemporary artworks and her dedication to promoting the arts. She’s the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton and is the richest woman in the United States in 2023. With a net worth of over $59.3 billion, she’s the second richest woman in the world and the twenty-first richest person in the world according to Forbes. She inherited her wealth through her father’s estate.
Upon her father Sam Walton’s death, Alice inherited a 13% stake in Walmart through the family’s trust and enterprise. This was in shares of Walmart’s publicly traded stock that had been retained after the IPO. Her father had split his share ownership in Walmart equally between Alice and her 3 brothers. With her inheritance, Alice Walton has made billions from the sales of some of her original shares and from dividends she received over the years.
As of December 23, 2022. Alice Walton still owns over 350,000 shares of Walmart Inc stock worth over $50.7 billion and over the last 11 years, Alice sold Walmart shares of stock worth over $22,657,136,474.
A child of Walmart Inc. founder Samuel Walton, Alice Walton was born into a family that valued art and business alike on October 7th, 1949 in Newport, Arkansas. With three elder brothers – Sam Robson Walton, John Walton, and Jim Walton. As a young girl, she moved with her parents to Bentonville, Arkansas where Sam Walton opened his first store ‘Walton’s 5 & 10’ and they settled down there.
As an ambitious youngster, she cultivated a passion for both outdoor activities like horse riding as well as artistic ones such as painting watercolors or buying her very first reproduction of a Picasso piece at just ten years old. During high school, she further explored those interests by joining associations such as the Spanish Club and Art Club. She then headed to Trinity University where she earned a degree in economics; setting an example that education can open doors far greater than any boundaries set by one’s hometown.
Walton was ahead of her time, achieving success even in the early days of her career. As an equity analyst and money manager for First Commerce Corporation and later heading investment activities at Arvest Bank Group., Walton’s business savvy became apparent when she founded Llama Company; an Investment bank where she assumed the roles of president, chairwoman, and CEO. With a vision to propel growth through infrastructure development in Northwest Arkansas – one that extended beyond traditional businesses – Walton provided $15 million in initial funding towards constructing what is now known as Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport which opened its doors back in 1998.
Building the Collection
Alice Walton’s art collection is one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of contemporary art in the world. She has acquired works by some of the most important artists of our time, including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Richard Serra. She is known for her discerning eye and her commitment to acquiring only the best works of art.
Her collection is housed in the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a beautiful 200,000-square-foot art oasis that she founded in 2011. The museum is located in Bentonville, Arkansas, and is dedicated to promoting American art and artists. The museum’s collection includes works from colonial times to the present day, and it has quickly become one of the most important institutions of its kind in the country.
Philanthropy and Dedication to the Arts
The renowned and highly celebrated Alice Walton is a paradox of sorts, renowned not just for her stunningly diverse art collection and awe-inspiring museum but also for her boundless philanthropic endeavors and unrelenting passion for advancing the arts. She stands as a fervent champion of the arts, having made substantial contributions to a plethora of organizations and institutions committed to supporting and preserving the arts.
Her steadfast dedication to the arts is reflected in the creation of the Walton Family Foundation, a unique entity supporting an extensive array of educational and cultural initiatives, with a keen emphasis on the arts. Through this foundation, Alice has generously provided funding for numerous art projects and initiatives, igniting a spark of love and appreciation for the arts in communities far and wide.
Alice Walton is a true trailblazer, a visionary with an unwavering passion for the arts. Her collection and museum stand as a shining example of her steadfast commitment to promoting the arts and safeguarding the cultural heritage of our nation. Her philanthropic efforts and dedication to the arts have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape, shaping the world of art and inspiring future generations of art collectors and enthusiasts.
Her vision extends far beyond just collecting and preserving art. Through her philanthropic efforts, Alice has helped to bring art and culture to communities across the country, providing access to the arts for people of all ages and backgrounds. She has also established programs and initiatives to support artists and promote the arts, providing a platform for emerging artists to showcase their work and reach a wider audience.
Alice Walton’s unwavering dedication to the arts has not only enriched the cultural landscape but has also served as a source of inspiration for others. Her visionary approach, passion for the arts, and philanthropic spirit have earned her a place among the great art collectors and philanthropists of our time.