On its third anniversary, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art reflects on milestones including welcoming more than 1.5 million visitors to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since the museum’s opening on 11/11/11, visitors have enjoyed five centuries of American masterworks, a groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition, educational programs, workshops, tours, and more. Additionally, more than 220,000 visitors a year utilize the museum’s 3.5 miles of walking trails.
Attendance numbers include curriculum-based field trips for K-12 students, which have served 74,000 students from across the region. Education highlights include The Reese Teacher Fellowship, established to enrich curriculum by encouraging interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects, as well as a partnership with Virtual Arkansas to offer access to distance learning classes.
Recent acquisitions include Buckyball, an illuminated sculpture by Leo Villareal, located on the Art Trail, and Hanging Heart (Gold/Red), a monumental sculpture by Pop artist Jeff Koons, exhibited in the museum’s restaurant, Eleven. Crystal Bridges also acquired a rare Frank Lloyd Wright house, which has been disassembled and moved to Bentonville, where it will be reassembled and open to the public in summer 2015. For more information about the restoration and reconstruction, visit here.
A significant milestone in 2014 is the new exhibition, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, which has captured the national spotlight with coverage including a story on CBS Sunday Morning . State of the Art is a result of a year-long, 100,000 mile search to bring together the artwork of 102 artists from all over the country. Since opening on September 13, State of the Art has attracted 88,000 visitors, deepening understanding of contemporary art and culture. The exhibition is free and will remain on view through January 19, highlighting the artists’ voices with unique engagement opportunities including workshop and art talks. Special programs associated with State of the Art will help celebrate the museum’s anniversary, including a Keynote Lecture by acclaimed artist Kerry James Marshall on November 12, a mentor to State of the Art artist Mequitta Ahuja.
State of the Art artist talks and lectures continue into December. A full listing of December programs and events is available is below. Information and registration are also available on the calendar of events on Crystal Bridges’ website. Sign up for Crystal Bridges email updates at ENewsletter.
Wednesday, December 3, 10, and 17, 1 to 2:15 pm
Preschool Art Class » Color
For ages 3 to 5 with an adult. Parents or caregivers participate with their preschoolers in gallery conversations and art-making activities each week to explore color in select artworks from State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now. Session includes three consecutive Wednesday classes. $30 ($24 for Members), register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Wednesday, December 3, 7:30 to 9 pm
Video Art Lecture with State of the Art artist Chris Larson
Minneapolis, Minnesota-based artist Chris Larson creates work with an architectural focus, and builds upon the historical tradition of interrogating the very method of making art, referencing Surrealist automatic drawing, midcentury gestural painting, and the analytic inquiry of conceptual artists. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Friday, December 5, 7 to 8 pm
Film » Creation
Many nineteenth-century artists, such as Martin Johnson Heade in Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection, were greatly influenced by Charles Darwin’s 1859 book, On the Origin of Species. Creation, starring Paul Bettany, is a fictionalized biographical account of Darwin’s personal struggles while he was producing his seminal work. Sponsored by Demara Titzer and Fayetteville Legacy Condominiums. Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Saturday, December 6, 10 am to 1 pm
Meet the Artist & Demonstration » State of the Art artist Bob Trotman
Stop by the studios any time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to meet State of the Art artist Bob Trotman, see how he creates his carved wood sculpture, and learn more about his process, which includes initial drawings, creation of clay maquettes, and full-size drawings before beginning to work in wood. This is a fascinating opportunity for all ages. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Free, no registration required.
Saturday, December 6, 7 to 11 pm
Crystal Bridges College Ambassadors » RE:SPECTIVE
Anyone can create. Everyone is an artist. Let’s re:kindle an old flame. Let’s make art re:touchable. Re:mix your realm. Re:discover State of the Art. Re:move yourself from the present. Help us re:brand without re:strictions. Above all, re:invent yourself. Again and again. Remember, remember the sixth of December. Re: Featuring… Watch this space for the line-up of local music bands, performances, and artists! Free, register online.
Spotlight Lecture » State of the Art artist Bob Trotman
Bob Trotman’s wood sculptures are often inspired by literary theater like Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot or David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Trotman will discuss his self-taught artistic approach which calls on a long history of wood carving, as well as his recent explorations in incorporating movement in his work, a nod to folk traditions such as the animatronic figures in cuckoo clocks. The artist updates this time-honored approach with references to issues that affect our everyday lives. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Wednesday, December 10, 6 to 7 pm
Boundless Book Club » The Samurai’s Garden, by Gail Tsukiyama
Boundless is an evening book discussion held in the Library that focuses on diverse individuals with a predisposition for literature and the dialogue they come to share. The Crystal Bridges team selects literary stories that push the boundaries on views of popular culture, current literary trends and genres, and past literary movements. Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Wednesday, December 10, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
Architecture Speaker Series » The Future of Frank Lloyd Wright
Sean Malone, the new President and CEO of the national Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, will explore the principles, artistry, and values of Frank Lloyd Wright’s body of work in terms of its relevance to our daily lives. $10 (Free for Members), register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Thursday, December 11, 11:30 am to 2 pm
Preschool Playdate » Stuff!
Monthly Preschool Playdates feature performances, art projects, story time, and creative play based on themes from our artwork. Activities are geared for children ages 2 to 5 with an adult, beginning with a family-friendly performance in the Great Hall at 11:30 a.m. Sponsored by The Hershey Company and The Original Wet-Nap. Free, no registration required.
Thursday, December 11, 1 pm
Art Talk » John James Audubon
Curator Manuela Well-Off-Man and Library Director Catherine Petersen will walk you through the exhibition, John James Audubon and the Artist as Naturalist. Free, no registration required.
Friday, December 12, through Monday, December 15
Museum Store Event » Member Double Discount Days
We’re in the holiday spirit and are offering Crystal Bridges Members double discounts (20%) on all Museum Store purchases Friday, December 12, through Monday, December 15 (works by Chihuly Workshop not included).
Friday, December 12, noon to 6 pm
Saturday, December 13, 10 am to 6 pm
Museum Store Event » Featuring Balance by Brian and Asian Eye
Come browse the latest collection of jewelry by Balance by Brian and a selection of exquisite textile arts presented by Asian Eye representative Jerry Ashmore. Brian Watson seeks to translate the concept of balance into his jewelry. His signature mismatched earrings are similar in concept, individual in design. He sculpts, twists, and manipulates sterling wire and adds semi-precious stones, crystals, glass from the Czech Republic, and beads to create each earring. Perfect for all who believe they need a little balance in their lives. Jerry Ashmore will bring a collection of exquisite textile arts created by Asian Eye. These one-of-kind scarves, shawls, hats, gloves, and throws feature the natural fibers of silk, wool, linen, and cotton. The broad selection will guarantee a delightful discovery for even the most discriminating taste. Holiday Bonus: Members receive double discounts (20%) on all Store purchases this weekend (works by Chihuly Workshop not included).
Friday, December 12, 8 to 9 pm
Phunbags Comedy Show » Chaos of Comedy
Join Phunbags Comedy Improv, the region’s premiere short-form professional improv company, in the Great Hall for an evening comedy! Improvs will be based upon art and artists with suggestions from the audience and audience participation! Who says art isn’t phunny?
Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Friday, December 12, 1 to 2 pm
Art Talk » State of the Art artist Pam Longobardi
Do you know that our oceans contain floating gyres of trash hundreds of miles long and wide? Spend time with artist-activist Pam Longobardi and discover how this artist’s sculpture is rooted in her deep concern for the environment. Created from plastic collected from our oceans, Longobardi’s work is a wakeup call to us all. Longobardi will share her background, the science behind her work, and her travels with Expedition GYRE, a team of artists, scientists, and educators addressing the international crisis of marine debris. This program is engaging and enlightening for all ages, and will feature a short film on Expedition GYRE. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Free, no registration required.
Saturday, December 13, 1 to 4 pm
Drop-In Art Making » Art Craft-Stick Puzzle
Drop in anytime between 1 and 4 p.m. for a free, guided studio session. Spend time creating and designing your personal puzzle with craft sticks. Materials are provided and all ages are welcome! Free, no registration required.
Saturday, December 13, 8 to 9 pm
Tales from the South on State of the Art
Join us for a special live recording for an upcoming Tales from the South radio show exploring the travel stories of Curator Chad Alligood and State of the Art artists Susan Goethel Campbell, Pam Longobardi, and other invited guest storytellers. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. $10 (Free for Members), register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Sunday, December 14, 1 to 4 pm
Drop in anytime for a free, informal drawing session. Materials are provided and an art instructor will be on hand to get you started. Check at Guest Services for the specific location. All ages are welcome! Free, no registration required.
Sunday, December 14, 3 to 4 pm
Spotlight Lecture » State of the Art artist Susan Goethel Campbell
Susan Goethel Campbell works in a variety of nature-based materials, from sod to dandelion and milkweed fluff to leaves. In her Clods and Grounds series, she repurposes post-consumer packaging in which she grows sod to the point of complete rootedness in the shape of the container. Campbell’s lecture encourages us to observe the overlooked beauty at the intersection of the natural and the manmade. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Wednesday, December 17, 5 to 6 pm
Wednesday Over Water (WOW) » High South Greatest Hits
Please join Crystal Bridges Culinary Director Case Dighero as he invites regional chefs and mixologists to discuss (and taste) the virtues of High South Cuisine, the rich food that hails from the Ozarks. Open to guests ages 21 and above. Sponsored by Premier Dermatology and Riedel. $30 ($24 for Members), register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Friday, December 19, 6:30 to 7:30 pm
Spotlight Lecture » State of the Art artist Sonya Clark "Hair to There: Weaving Tales with Textiles"
Hear from Richmond, Virginia-based fiber artist Sonya Clark who discusses how her art evokes tales of transformation and self-discovery. The varied objects she crafts reflect a design sensibility inspired by the rhythmic improvisation inherent in the rich textile and hair traditions of Africa, Black America, and the Caribbean. Clark will tie in her State of the Art artwork, Albers Interaction Series, with her overall artistic process. Clark currently serves as Chair and Professor in the Department of Craft/Material Studies at the School of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University. Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Free, register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Saturday, December 20, through Sunday, January 4
Winter Break Wonders
Join us at the Museum during your school break— we’re making special plans for family-friendly activities each afternoon, including art-making, live music, puppets, and more! Check our website for details. Free, no registration required.
Saturday, December 20, 8:00-11:00 pm
Mi Casa es su Casa | Salsa Night at the Museum
In the spirit of Las Posadas, a nine-day celebration of Christmas observed throughout much of the US, Mexico, and Central America, Crystal Bridges welcomes all to get to know the Museum as their home—Mi Casa es su Casa! Please join us for a salsa dance party after hours in the picturesque Great Hall, and explore the Museum’s “home” in the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition. DJ Midnite will be on the turn-table with Latin beats, and Barbie Bell presents dancing lessons. Guests are encouraged to dress in their best holiday fashions of red and white! Bar drinks available for purchase. This event has limited capacity, so be sure to register! Registrants enter a raffle for a free-one year family membership. Free with online registration. If there is inclement weather, cancellation will be determined the day of the event at noon. Special thanks to our collaborators, the Hispanic Latino Associate Resource Group. Free, with online registration.
Saturday, December 20, 1 to 4 pm
Young Artists Workshop with artist Kristen Cliffel
(For ages 6 to 12) You know those little mementos and objects that accumulate in junk drawers and shoeboxes? You’ve kept these ticket stubs, baby teeth, and the like because they trigger a memory or an emotion. Artist Kristen Cliffel describes herself as “a storyteller that happens to make sculpture.” Join Cliffel to create works of art including and inspired by your own bits and pieces of life, and create a three-dimensional work of art that tells your story! Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Participants should bring their own mementos to be included in the work. All other materials are provided. $15 ($12 for Members), register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Sunday, December 21, 1 to 4 pm
Adult Workshop with artist Kristen Cliffel
You know those little mementos and objects that accumulate in junk drawers and shoeboxes? You’ve kept these ticket stubs, baby teeth, and the like because they trigger a memory or an emotion. Artist Kristen Cliffel describes herself as “a storyteller that happens to make sculpture.” Join Cliffel to create works of art including and inspired by your own bits and pieces of life, and create a three-dimensional work of art that tells your story! Sponsored by the Crystal Bridges Art Now Fund. Participants should bring their own mementos to be included in the work. All other materials are provided. $15 ($12 for Members), register online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.
Wednesday, December 31, 8 pm to 12:30 am
State Of The Art NEW 365
Past and future converge in a sensory State Of The Art NEW 365 – a reflection of journeys taken and a glimpse into voyages ahead. Enjoy access to all galleries, have a festive drink, and sample mouthwatering delights from the Eleven chefs. Laugh your way into a new calendar with a stand-up comedy set followed by the Southern-punk-psychobilly sounds of the “Godfather of Modern Rockabilly,” the Reverend Horton Heat. It will be a night of sensations, celebrations, and jubilation. So… chart your course into 2015 with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Get your tickets TODAY! Open to participants ages 21 and up. Valid photo ID required for entry. $100 ($85 for Members), purchase tickets online or by calling Guest Services at 479.657.2335.