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Thaden School (Design Excellence)

Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

Promoting the highest level of design in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties
Apply for the Design Excellence Program

Thank you for your interest. The application period for the Design Excellence Program was open from November 28, 2023, through January 4, 2024. The selection process is now underway. Those chosen for the program will be notified by March 1, 2024. We sincerely thank all applicants for participating and look forward to announcing the selected urban planning professionals soon.

Designer Selection Process

The Selection Committee, which is comprised of industry experts and Walton Family Foundation representatives, will review qualifications and invite select designers to join the program. Walton Family Foundation board members, staff and selection committee members should not be contacted directly.

If selected, design professionals will be able to participate in the Design Excellence Program for up to five years, or until they are selected for a project. Selection does not guarantee an interview or for a project, nor does it guarantee that a project will ultimately be approved.

The Walton Family Foundation reserves the right to cancel this program in whole or in part at any time. In no event shall any person or organization have any claim or cause of action against the Walton Family Foundation or any of its members, officers, employees, agents or affiliates arising out of, relating to, or in any way connected with this program. Submission of an application shall constitute unconditional agreement to each and every term and condition hereof.

As projects are determined, the Selection Committee will review the project’s unique design needs and choose a core group of design professionals who may be a good fit for the project. This core group will be presented to the grantee for consideration and final approval. Final decisions on the design professional and design outcome will be made by the grantee.

This selection process is designed to accommodate firms of all sizes, including nationally recognized, multi-disciplinary firms, smaller specialty firms and young design professionals who may not yet be discovered.

The program is expected to generate meaningful partnerships between in-state and out-of-state firms. However, partnership agreements are not needed during the initial review process and should only be considered after a design professional has been selected as a finalist for a specific project.

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