As a social work major at the University of Arkansas, I joined the Crystal Bridges College Ambassador (CBCA) program one year ago in an effort to broaden my extracurricular involvement and try something new. The College Ambassadors are a group of undergraduate students from schools throughout Arkansas who meet at Crystal Bridges biweekly to learn about the Museum and to brainstorm event ideas. Although it is a significant time commitment, I am so glad I joined CBCA. Through this program, I have gained an incredible appreciation for Crystal Bridges, and I have learned a wealth of information about the Museum.
My favorite part of CBCA is planning events geared towards bringing young adults into the Museum, many of whom have had few previous encounters with Crystal Bridges. At these events, such as our “Super Iconic” night on May 1st, the Ambassadors collaborate with others in the art community. “Super Iconic” is a party-atmosphere event including live music, food and drinks, slam poetry, and printmaking, as well as free admission to the Van Gogh to Rothko special exhibition. Approximately 1,000 young adults are expected to attend.
This semester, the Ambassadors are collaborating with professors from the universities we represent. For “Super Iconic,” CBCA is spotlighting the upcoming opening of the Bachman-Wilson House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The Wright House is currently being reconstructed on Crystal Bridges’ grounds. Recently, architecture students from the Fay Jones School designed and built a pavilion at Crystal Bridges to function as an information center on Wright’s design. These students were in a Design and Fabrication class led by Dr. Santiago Pérez, the 21st Century Chair at the Fay Jones School of Architecture. In an effort to partner with the Fay Jones School, I contacted Dr. Pérez and asked him to briefly speak at CBCA’s “Super Iconic.”
(Note: another group of students from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture built a scale model of the Frank Lloyd Wright house and site at Crystal Bridges, which can be viewed in the Museum’s south lobby.–LD)
The aim for this partnership is to emphasize the previously established relationship between Crystal Bridges and the Fay Jones School of Architecture. Although neither the pavilion nor the Wright House will be open in time for the CBCA event, the Ambassadors are using “Super Iconic” as a platform to celebrate the achievements of Dr. Pérez and the Fay Jones students. Dr. Pérez will present a short lecture at “Super Iconic” to inform the audience about the Wright House and to demonstrate the processes used to design and build the pavilion. This promotion is especially important considering that several of those attending “Super Iconic” event have little to no previous experience with the Museum. The Ambassadors want to connect as many students as possible to future Museum happenings.
As I look forward to my third year as a College Ambassador, I anticipate new efforts to involve the community in our programs and further the connections gained through this incredible extracurricular experience. Through “Super Iconic,” the Ambassadors are excited to continue a partnership of creativity between Crystal Bridges and the Fay Jones School.