Here’s something I just learned today: Crystal Bridges’ galleries are apparently crawling with Pokemon. So are the trails and grounds. Thankfully, with the help of a new Pokemon app, our guests can help catch them. The new Pokemon Go app was released just a few days ago, and Crystal Bridges’ is among Bentonville’s landmarks featured in the game.
For those of you, like me, haven’t a clue about this, here’s the CliffsNotes: Pokemon Go is an “augmented reality” game that sends players out into the Real World to find and catch Pokemon at landmark sites in their community. Players have to actually go to the physical location of these landmarks in order to engage the Pokemon, and the app includes the locations and images of each site. Once a players has arrived at the correct location, he or she can use the camera on their phone to see and photograph the Pokemon at that site before they attempt to capture the critter through the game. That’s where the augmented reality comes in: players can take photos of Pokemon all over the Museum grounds and throughout the galleries.
Pikachu, for instance, hangs out around Dan Flavin’s light installation Untitled (to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Inch). That’s not surprising, as Pikachu’s an electric Pokemon and this is an electric artwork.
A Kakuna hovers near Alice Aycock’s outdoor sculpture Maelstrom.
And this Rattata is clearly breaking all the Museum’s rules by brazenly standing on Roxy Payne’s Bad Lawn. (Kids, don’t try this yourselves.)
In August, players will also be able to get a Bluetooth device that will alert them when a Pokemon is nearby, so they can whip out their phones and catch it.
The game already has quite a following: not just among kids and teens, but among adults, as well. In fact, the app revealed a number of Pokemon enthusiasts among the Museum staff. Alex Duvall, a Guest Services Associate, came to work two hours early today to prowl the galleries for Pokemon. And Megan Gustin, AV Specialist for the Museum, used her lunch hour to walk the Orchard Trail to Leo Villareal’s Buckyball sculpture, where a Pokemon gym is located.
“I was there for about ten minutes,” she said, “and I saw several cars pull in to the Additional Parking lot just to play the game.”
As general admission to Crystal Bridges is free*, it will cost you nothing to visit the Museum and rack up your Pokemon captures, and you can enjoy some terrific American art as you go.
We only ask that you be careful and be aware of your surroundings as you do battle so you don’t inadvertently back into an artwork or trip up a fellow museumgoer.
Pokemon Go is a free app downloadable for your Apple or Android device. If you’re sharing images of your Pokemon sightings on social media, be sure to tag your Crystal Bridges Pokemon with #CrystalBridges!
Go catch ‘em all!
*General admission to Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection is sponsored by Walmart.