Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Launches Membership Program

Jill M. Rohrbach

Don Bacigalupi, executive director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, says one of the most frequent questions he is asked is “When can we join?” Well, the time is now.

Crystal Bridges, which will open 11-11-11, will launch its membership program during the upcoming American holiday celebrating Independence Day. From July 1-4, the museum will participate in several events throughout the region. This is your chance to have the prestige of being among the inaugural members of this great new American art museum.

Crystal Bridges has 10 levels of membership ranging from a $35 student and $75 dual/family to a Benefactor Circle.

Here are you upcoming weekend options for joining and supporting Crystal Bridges:

On Friday, July 1, two membership tents will be set up on the Bentonville square during the First Friday event. Crystal Bridges is also the sponsor of all of the July First Friday festivities.

On Saturday, July 2, membership tents will be at four Farmers markets throughout the region – Fayetteville, Rogers, Bentonville and Springdale. From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bentonville market, Crystal Bridges director of culinary services Case Dighero will lead a cooking demonstration and provide delicacies. From 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., you’ll also find festivities and membership sign up at the amphitheater near James Turell’s Skyspace by the Crystal Bridges Trail. This will be the grand opening of the Skyspace experience and the Art Trail. There will be light musical entertainment too.

On Monday, July 4, Crystal Bridges will participate in Bentonville’s Fourth of July fireworks event at the Orchards park amphitheatre. Museum staff will be available to answer questions and offer membership sign-ups.

The Museum’s “Original Members,” which encompasses the first 3,000 commitments regardless of donor level, receive an invitation to a member preview event prior to the opening and a special membership card featuring Asher B. Durand’s “Kindred Spirits.” Additionally, members will enjoy special level-specific experience benefits such as exhibition previews, complimentary publications, conversations with curators and directors as well as private tours.

If you need more information, contact Karen Baker at 1-877-832-1077 or


According to the museum, “The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art 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.

“Founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation and set to open November 11, 2011, 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. Visitor 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, Arkansas.

“Crystal Bridges is currently building its permanent collection through the efforts of its professional staff as well as important gifts from private collectors such as Alice Walton and others. The collection features American masterworks dating from the Colonial era to contemporary times and will be on view to the public year-round. The Museum also will display a changing array of special exhibitions featuring art from museums and collections throughout the region, the nation and abroad.”

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