Crystal Bridges: Celebrating the American Spirit

Jill M. Rohrbach

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a premiere art institution opening 11-11-11 in Bentonville, announced today that General Electric, Coca-Cola, and Goldman Sachs are taking sponsorship roles. These major American companies are sponsoring “Celebrating the American Spirit,” the inaugural exhibition showcasing the museum’s permanent collection.
 
Since the mission of the museum is to “tell the unfolding sotry of the United State from the Colonial era to the present through its great works of American visual art,” it is only fitting that these three esteemed American companies back these works.
 
“These iconic companies, each founded in the 19th century during an era of great invention and transformation, are American originals embodying the spirit of innovation, philanthropy, and tradition that the collection itself represents,” according to a press release.
 
Founded in 1890 by inventor Thomas Alva Edison, General Electric has deep roots in the American Golden Age. Coca-Cola is another American company that has made a global impact. Founded in 1886, Coke’s trademark red and white logo is recognizable around the world, in any language. Goldman Sachs, founded in 1869, is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.
 
Celebrating the American Spirit features a multiplicity of media, including paintings, sculpture, works on paper, glass and textiles. It features more than 400 works by American masters with the earliest work dated circa 1675 to some of the most recognizable contemporary art of today. The art is displayed in 12 galleries in four separate buildings.

Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation, the museum takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building design by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds will house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Guest amenities will also include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds and a Marlon Blackwell-designed museum store. Sculpture and walking trails will link the museum’s 120-acre park and gardens to downtown Bentonville.

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