Located in Bentonville, AR, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art aims to inspire all people to enjoy the American spirit through the power and beauty of nature and art. Visitors will experience a permanent collection of American works spanning from the Colonial era to the present day.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was founded by the Walton Family Foundation in 2005 as a non-profit organization for everyone to enjoy. Through the help of many patrons and philanthropists, alongside the museum’s board of directors, the museum was officially opened to the public on November 11, 2011 (11-11-11).
The building, which is a series of outdoor pavilions built alongside two spring-fed ponds, was designed by the famous architect, Moshe Safdie. The pavilions house the various galleries, classroom and meeting rooms, a large glass meeting hall, a museum store, and a restaurant.
There is also a library which houses more than 50,000 reference volumes and an enclosed glass bridge which allows visitors to admire the ponds. The surrounding area features a walking trail and sculpture garden within a 120-acre park linking the Museum to the downtown Bentonville area.
Currently, the Museum welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors a year, a fascinating series of rotating exhibitions, and a variety of educational programs. The surrounding nature is breathtaking, making the Museum one of the most beautiful to visit in the nation.
Colonial to Early 19th Century Gallery:This gallery features pieces from the permanent collection from the early 19th century and the Colonial Era. Some highlights from the collection include a sculpture by Giuseppe Ceracchi featuring Alexander Hamilton circa 1794; a portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart circa 1797; and an oil painting by Jasper Francis Cropsey entitled The Backwoods of America circa 1858.
Late 19th Century Gallery:This gallery features pieces from the permanent collection from the later part of the 19th century. Some highlights from the collection include many oil on canvas works featuring landscapes and portraits by artists such as James Henry Bear, Everett Shinn, and William Trost Richards. A plaster portrait of Annie Page circa 1895 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens is also featured in this collection.
Early 20th Century Gallery:This gallery features pieces from the permanent collection from the early part of the 20th century. Some highlights from the collection include works by abstract artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. There are many sculptures made from wood, marble, steel, bronze, plaster, and clay all on display from various artists of the period, including John Bradley Storrs and Agnes Pelton.
North Exhibition Galleries:This gallery features a large variety of works from a vast spectrum of mediums. Nam June Paik has a life-size robot sculpture, circa 1995, on display in this gallery. The robot,John Cage Robot II, is constructed out of old cabinets, electronics, wood mushrooms and miscellaneous instruments and paint.
1940s to Now Gallery:This gallery features pieces from the permanent collection from the 1940s decade to current works. Some highlights from the collection include some pieces of modern and contemporary artwork by artists such as Gene Davis, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Frederick Eversley. A large variety of mediums is also represented in this gallery.
Outdoor Art:This gallery features all of the sculptures on display throughout the 120-acre park and sculpture garden. There are dozens of fascinating and unique sculptures made out of all kinds of materials.
Chihuly:This exhibition is featured in two parts in the Ozark Woods and is on display throughout the summer at Crystal Bridges. Artist Dale Chihuly is world-renowned for his innovative public installations throughout various museums and gardens. This exhibition will feature many of his extensive and colorful installations throughout the gardens, galleries, and the outdoors.
Stuart Davis: In Full Swing: This exhibition features the works of modern artist, Stuart Davis and the works he produced in his career of more than 60 years. Witness the bold he used on canvas to express his love for jazz music. This exhibition will be on display from September 17, 2017 until January 1, 2018.
The Crystal Bridges Museum provides educational programming year-round for children of all ages. There are a large variety of lectures, classes, performances, and community education and art programs. The Museum also offers a few scholarships for those who are studying, researching, or pursuing a degree in the arts.
Approximately 45,000 schoolchildren attend one of these programs each year at the Museum. There are also plenty of resources for teachers, including the ability to plan specialized class field trips.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR, 72712, website, Phone: 479-418-5700