Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview

Fayetteville Arkansas, University of Arkansas--Old Main Overview
Overview of Fayetteville, AR

Monday, January 02, 2012

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art put Bentonville on Travel and Leisure's Top Travel Destinations List

You don’t have to make an appointment any more to visit Crystal Bridges. I found that out recently, when I visited for the first time with my artist/musician son who was home for the holidays. And it’s a wonderful place.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a treat for the senses. There are so many wonderful works of art that I can’t begin to cover them all in my blog, but I hope to pique your interest.

Just to know our little corner of the world is home to this beautiful museum is enough to make us all proud. The brainchild of Alice Walton, longtime art collector and daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, created much controversy when she announced her plans in 2005. Some of the so-called ‘upper crust’ in art circles were aghast that major works would be somehow ‘lost’ in the Midwest.

The art is far from lost! It is alive and well and displayed in a work of art itself. The 201,000-square-foot museum, designed by the famed architect Moshe Safdie, is set beautifully into natural surroundings. Visitors will find eight linked pavilions bordering two large pools, which are fed by Crystal Spring. The architecture alone would be worth the trip even if it didn’t contain this marvelous collection of art from colonial to contemporary times. The pools are still in the process of being filled, however.

Even a brief glance at the list of art included within the collection shows there is something for everyone: Rosie the Riveter by Norman Rockwell, Asher B. Durand's Kindred Spirits, Maxfield Parrish's The Lantern Bearers, and Andy Warhol’s Dolly Parton. The “Rosie” work is not the famous one that everyone usually sees, however. It’s a different one.

There are eight trails on the wooded 120-acre property. I can’t wait to see dogwood trail in the spring! Also located outside is the sculpture garden.

Some of the educational offerings will include Skyspace Discussions, Shifting Perspectives with Nature, and Wonder World. Wonder World has some really interesting contemporary stuff, including a version of the Last Supper made entirely of spools of thread.

Perhaps one of the most outstanding offerings at the museum is the price of admission. Admission is totally free thanks to a $20 million donation by Wal-Mart Corporation.

Wal-Mart Family Foundation has pledged $800 million towards acquisitions, operations, and capital improvements, not to mention additional monies towards initial construction. Local philanthropists have also made additional generous donations.

This huge endowment puts it on a par with Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is already creating buzz in travel circles. Travel and Leisure.com lists it as one of the top destinations in 2012. The biggest buzz, of course, is among art lovers in the U.S. as well as overseas. It is such a huge boost to the art scene in NW Arkansas as well as local artists and aspiring artists everywhere.

I can’t sing too many praises about Crystal Bridges of American Art and its effects on the local economy. New businesses have already opened. A sparkling new hotel, 21c Museum Hotel, plans to open in January 2013. It will be similar to the original 21c in Louisville. Out-of-state visitors have already arrived and many more are coming.

You simply must go. If you’ve already been, go again. That’s what my friends and I plan to do. Just don’t go on Tuesdays. That is the one day each week when the museum is closed.

For more information visit the Crystal Bridges Website.

And here are a few informational newspaper articles from Arkansas Business, the New York Times, NY Times Travel Section, and Travel and Leisure magazine. For a great picture of the museum, click here.