Sunday, December 16, 2012

Crystal Bridges - My View

This past weekend I visited Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas. Locate in the northwest corner of the state this complex is the vision on billionaire Alice Walton and her extraordinary architect Moshe Safdie. I have devoted a significant portion of this Christmas newsletter to this museum. Museum installations are often a journey that extends over a significant period of time starting with raising the funds, selecting the architect, agreeing on a concept and design, choosing the contractors, and finally implementing the vision and opening the building. The politics involved can alone be a deal breaker with winners some times imposing impractical idiosyncratic plans that create long term problems. From the success stories in Kansas City to the disasters in Denver there are many institutions in between. Alice Walton and Safdie succeeded in every way in creating a truly unique experience that in my judgment ranks with the very finest museums in the world. I cannot say enough, so I have offered the efforts of some of our more important newspaper and magazine art critics to do this job. Below is the question and answer section from the Crystal Bridges website.

Q. How did the Museum get its name?
A. Crystal Bridges takes its name from Crystal Spring—a natural spring on the Museum's wooded site that feeds into the Museum ponds—and from the unique bridge construction incorporated into the building design.
Q. Who was the architect of Crystal Bridges?
A. The building was designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie. Safdie is an architect, urban planner, educator, theorist, and author who embraces a comprehensive and humane design philosophy. Safdie is committed to architecture that responds to human needs and aspirations and is informed by the geographic, social, and cultural elements that define a place.
Q. What is in the collection?
A. Crystal Bridges' permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits, Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, and Andy Warhol's Dolly Parton, each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution. In addition to historical works, the Museum's collection also showcases major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, James Turrell, and Georgia O'Keeffe, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to experience the full scope of American art. Crystal Bridges will continue to grow its collection through the efforts of its professional staff as well as through important gifts from private collectors.
Q. What else can I see at Crystal Bridges besides the art?
A. Crystal Bridges is a vibrant, engaging place that offers a variety of activities for visitors. In addition to the galleries, the Museum complex encompasses a Library, the hands-on Experience Art Studio and Drop-in Studio, a glass-enclosed gathering hall for lectures, films, and other events, a Museum Store, a restaurant, and areas for outdoor concerts and public events. In addition, more than three miles of walking and biking trails through the Museum's 120-acre grounds offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beautiful Ozark landscape and enjoy sculptures, gardens, and interactive education areas.
Q. What are the Museum's hours?
A. Crystal Bridges is open Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays, as well as on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Crystal Bridges' trails are open from sunrise to sunset, every day.
Q. What is the admission price?
A. General admission to Crystal Bridges is sponsored by Walmart. There is no cost to view Museum permanent collections. There may occasionally be an admission fee to view travelling exhibitions.
Q. Is there a restaurant onsite?
Crystal Bridges Cafe
A. Yes. Eleven, the Museum's restaurant, is located in a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds. Eleven offers a delicious menu of Low Midwest and High South cuisine for lunch on Wednesday through Monday, with dinner service on Wednesday and Friday evenings. Click here for menu and information.
Q. Is there a Museum Store?
A. Yes, the Museum Store, designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, offers educational and art-centric toys, books, gifts, and jewelry inspired by the Museum's permanent collection, and prints of many of its most popular works. Original artworks by some of the finest artists and artisans in the region also are available for purchase.
Q. Are reservations required for a group tour?
A. Groups of 10 or more desiring a guided tour should make a reservation at least two weeks prior to the date of the group's visit. For more information or to schedule a group tour, call 479-418-5746 or visit our Group Tours page.
Q. What programming is available for school groups?
A. The Willard and Pat Walker School Visit Program includes a guided tour, pre- and post-visit materials to use in the classroom, a 30-minute lunch provided by Eleven, the Museum's restaurant, a 30-minute session in Experience Art Studio, and souvenir gift bags for each of the students. There are several themed tours to choose from. We will be accepting applications from teachers interested in visiting the Museum during the Spring 2013 semester. Click here for more information about school groups.
Crystal Bridges trail
Q. How do I access the Crystal Bridges Trail and the Art Trail?
A. Crystal Bridges Trail can be reached from downtown Bentonville. The trailhead entrance is on Northeast 3rd Street between A and B Streets (across from the splash park). Crystal Bridges Trail can also be accessed from Compton Gardens' entrance on North Main Street, or from Northeast A Street north of the Museum. Click here to download a map.
The Art Trail begins at James Turrell's Skyspace installation, The Way of Color, on the Crystal Bridges Trail. It leads to the Museum's south lobby.
Q. Can I ride my bicycle on the trails?
A. Bicycles are welcome on the Crystal Bridges Trail, the Art Trail, and Orchard Trail. The Dogwood Trail is a stroller-friendly, pedestrian-only soft-surface trail. The Tulip Tree Trail, Crystal Springs Loop, and Rock Ledge Trail are all natural paths for pedestrians only. Skateboards are prohibited on all trails. Click here for more information about Crystal Bridges' Trails.
Q. Can I rent facilities at the Museum for a special event?
A. Several of the Museum's facilities, including the beautiful Great Hall, meeting rooms, classrooms and grounds will be available for event rental by Museum Members. For information on renting Museum facilities, click here.
Q. How is Crystal Bridges tied to Walmart?
A. Crystal Bridges is a nonprofit organization focused solely on creating a world-class museum for the benefit of the public. The Museum was founded by Alice Walton, who also serves as chair of the Crystal Bridges Board of Directors. Because of its commitment to the educational and cultural development of Northwest Arkansas, the Walton Family Foundation has provided significant funding to help make the dream of Crystal Bridges a reality. In July, 2011, Walmart announced a grant that will sponsor general public admission to the Museum. However, Walmart Stores, Inc. is in no way connected to the development, construction, or planning of the Museum or the development and ownership of the permanent collection.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing this information. Nice blog! -