All of us in NW Arkansas and Eureka Springs have been waiting on pins and needles for the opening of the new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. And it’s finally here – 11/11/11 will mark the opening of one of the most beautiful buildings (which is an art piece in and of itself) and one of the best collections of American Art ever gathered under one roof. The Museum was founded by art-enthusiast and visionary Alice Walton (of the Walmart family), who continues to serve as chair of the Board of Directors. In July, 2011, Walmart announced a grant that will sponsor general public admission to the Museum. However, Walmart Stores, Inc. is in no way connected to the development, construction, or planning of the Museum or the development and ownership of the permanent collection. That’s right, you can get in free! However, only advance tickets issued will get you in from the opening day until January 2nd. And only a certain number will be issued for each day. You should be able to reserve those online at their site.
The art will be divided into several different collections, including Colonial, 19th Century, Modern and Contemporary. You’ll see such works as Charles Wilson Peale’s portrait of George Washington, ca. 1780-1782, and Thomas Moran’s Valley of the Catawissa in Autumn, ca. 1862. In the Modern collection, you’ll see Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter, 1943. In the Contemporary collection, visit Andy Warhol’s Dolly Parton, 1985, and Walton Ford’s The Island, 2009. There will also be many sculpture pieces included inside and outside the museum.
Not only is the museum going to be a fabulous place to visit on the inside, more than 3.5 miles of trails will wind among streams, ponds, wetlands, native plants, and sculpture on the Museum’s 120-acre site. Some are bike-friendly and from what little we’ve seen so far, this is an incredibly beautiful venue for outdoor enjoyment. At one point on Crystal Bridges Trail is an observation deck overlooking the museum itself.
Eureka Springs is a great place to come stay, enjoy our local artists, who are phenomenal in their own right, and then pop over to Bentonville, just a 1-hour drive through our beautiful Ozark Mountains, to the Crystal Bridges Museum. And you know we’d love to have you stay with us!
Jeff and Nadara (Sam) Feldman – and Sophie, too!