Founded by philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton in 2011, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, brings a world of opportunity to an often-overlooked region of the country. Crystal Bridges, a nonprofit organization and public art museum, inspires groups through its permanent and rotating collections featuring an array of art exhibits, architecture, and social justice-inspired works. At Crystal Bridges, groups can enhance their knowledge of American art and the diverse perspectives that have contributed to the history and culture of the United States.
“Our museum welcomes all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature, in the center of the American heartland,” says KC Hurst, chief marketing, communications, and digital officer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. “As a cultural institution, Crystal Bridges makes room for important conversations to facilitate a space of measurable change.”
Crystal Bridges is known for its collections that champion the work of underrepresented artists. The museum’s permanent collection includes works such as Asher B. Durand’s “Kindred Spirits,” Gilbert Stuart’s “George Washington,” and Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Jimson Weed.” The collection tells broad and inclusive stories about the artists, their lives, and the untold experiences and tales behind their work. The museum also offers temporary exhibitions that complement the permanent collection, each commenting on the art’s connection to equality and justice.
Outside on the museum grounds, visitors can explore 5 miles of beautiful trails and outdoor art installations in the heart of Ozark forestland. Groups can take a self-guided or docent-led tour of the trails, while taking in natural beauty and architectural masterpieces such as the Bachman-Wilson House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. An hourlong guided tour of the house, which is offered five days per week, can be booked online in advance.
For an all-inclusive experience of the museum, grounds, and artist history, groups can book a Big Picture Tour. The docent-led tour takes groups on a complete Crystal Bridges experience, where they’re introduced to the museum’s most iconic paintings, given highlights of architectural design, and are able to explore the natural environment and expansive trails with interpretive discussion along the way.
Admission to the museum is free year-round. Guided group tours must be coordinated at least 14 days in advance online or by phone.
For more information, call 479-367-7500 or go to crystalbridges.org.
Main Image: Early American Gallery; Credit: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Article by Erica Zazo