Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, an Overview

Jill M. Rohrbach
 

I am so excited about the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, just a mere 30 days from now. If you don’t know much about it, keep coming back here to learn more.
 
 
Let’s start with an overview. Crystal Bridges is located in Bentonville in northwest Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains Region of The Natural State. The museum is set to open on 11-11-11. Its mission is “to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of landscape. We explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities.” 
 
What does that mean? It means you’ll find Colonial works, 19th century paintings, modern works, and contemporary art that help tell us about our country as well as art. And these amazing American masterpieces are held in a museum set in a beautiful Ozark woodland with two creek-fed ponds.
 
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 creek-fed ponds will house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Visitor amenities will include a café 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.
 
Another wonderful aspect – free admission for all visitors thanks to a $20 million grant from Walmart. It is the first gift dedicated to the museum’s newly created Next Generation Fund, which addresses the economic, social and cultural barriers that often prevent diverse audiences from participating in the arts.
 
There will be an estimated 130 employees. Alice Walton serves at the chair of the board of directors. The executive director is Don Bacigalupi, Ph.D.
 
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