Arts Center of the Ozarks Receives $40,000 from Wal-Mart

Grant from the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Foundation will help ACO present “Serendipity for Schools”


BENTONVILLE, Ark., July 11, 2007 – The Arts Center of the Ozarks today announced that it has received a $40,000 grant from the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Foundation to provide opportunities for children and families in Northwest Arkansas to enjoy visual and performing arts. The grant will be used to support the organization’s Serendipity for Schools program, which provides students with a wide variety of performances and “informances,” featuring classical literature, historical figures, Shakespearean heroes and villains and full-scale theatrical productions.

“We are thrilled that the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Foundation recognizes the importance of making the arts accessible to every child in Northwest Arkansas,” said Kathi Blundell, administrative director at the ACO. “Thanks to the Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club Foundation, we have been able to provide visual and performing arts experiences for 100,000 area children over the past five years. Each year, 20,000 students from public and private schools as well as students who are home-schooled are exposed to a wide variety of educational and entertaining programming. Because of the generosity of companies such as Wal-Mart, we are able to uphold our mission to bring hands-on and family-friendly programs to Northwest Arkansas.”

ACO’s 2007-2008 Serendipity for Schools season will feature unique multicultural presentations, first experiences in opera, story-acting of classic children’s works and works by young performing artists. The first production of the season will be “Guys and Dolls,” which opens July 13. Other events include the 25th Annual Northwest Competition for Senior High Artists; the 9th Annual Celebrate Art! Competition for K-8 Grade artists; and the Annual Shakespeare Festival for the Springdale schools.
 
“We are so fortunate to live in an area where people place a high value on culture and the arts,” said Ray Bracy, Senior Vice President of Wal-Mart Corporate Affairs. “Wal-Mart’s giving philosophy is to operate globally and give back locally, and we are proud to be able to support the efforts of fine organizations such as the Arts Center of the Ozarks.”

Wal-Mart, noted last year by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest corporate cash contributor in America, has a long history of supporting organizations with a focus on children and education.

About Arts Center of the Ozarks
The ACO is a privately incorporated, non-profit 501c3 educational arts institution governed by a 40 member Board of Directors representing various Northwest Arkansas communities.  The day-to-day operation of the ACO is run by a professional staff of eight full-time and five part-time employees with outside artists, teachers and instructors employed as necessary to assist with programming.  Volunteers of all ages number well over 500 during the year and assist with fund-raising, office work, stage work, gallery exhibitions, ushering, concessions and more.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Every week, millions of customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam’s Club locations across America or log on to its online store at www.walmart.com. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $270 million to local communities in the United States. To learn more, visit www.walmartfacts.com, www.walmartstores.com, or www.walmartfoundation.org.

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