Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

The Design Excellence Program promotes the highest level of design in the development of future public buildings and spaces in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties.

Elevating the quality of architectural and landscape design in the Northwest Arkansas region

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program promotes the highest level of design in the development of future public buildings and spaces in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties. The program is intended to elevate the quality of architectural and landscape design in the Northwest Arkansas region.

The establishment of a design excellence program in Northwest Arkansas was driven by the Walton Family Foundation’s effort to preserve the region’s sense of place. Over the last 25 years, the population in Northwest Arkansas has more than doubled, creating opportunities and challenges in planning and design. The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence program will encourage quality design of public spaces, while complementing the rich architectural history of the region’s urban fabric.

Through this program, the Walton Family Foundation will provide financial support to entities such as school districts; county, state or local municipalities; and nonprofit organizations that intend to design and develop space for public purposes. Funds will be earmarked for all phases of design work.

The Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program was inspired by a similar enterprise in Columbus, Indiana by the Cummins Foundation. Since its launch in 2015, the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program has developed a pool of 36 architecture and landscape architecture firms representing 13 states, Canada, and the District of Columbia. Three inaugural projects were announced in 2015 — a new theatre for TheatreSquared, an adaptive reuse project to house the Rogers Historical Museum, and a new early childhood facility for the Helen Walton Children’s Enrichment Center. 

Program and Application Details

How to Apply

Get important details about the application process and how designers will be selected Read More