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FindingNWA Interviews Crystal Bridges at 10 Community Champions

Community Champions in Crystal Bridges at 10
Charles “Kuri” Heam, retired pastor, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Springdale, Arkansas (left); Joi McGowan, licensed therapist, Fayetteville, Arkansas (center); Nandhini Varadaraj, board secretary, Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation, Bentonville, Arkansas (right)
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is closed today, Monday, January 30 due to inclement weather. Any programs, tours, lectures or classes will not be held. If you are a ticket holder for a tour or an event today, we’ll contact you about rescheduling.

In the first section of our newest temporary exhibition, Crystal Bridges at 10, Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter sits prominently among images of people who play important roles in their community, from labor prints to a Wonder Woman impersonator. You might even see a familiar face among the photographs.

Crystal Bridges at 10 is not just a celebration of the museum’s first 10 years; it is also a celebration of the local community that has lovingly embraced the museum from the very beginning. In honor of this, eight Northwest Arkansas citizens who contribute in essential ways to the needs of our community were identified and photographed for the exhibition’s Community Champions section. Each person highlighted works tirelessly, and often without fanfare, to spread hope and healing.

Community Champions in Crystal Bridges at 10
Jazmin Rivas, patient navigator, Community Clinic, Springdale, Arkansas (left); Natalie Szymczak, first-grade teacher, Bentonville School District, Centerton, Arkansas (right)

The “community champions” were identified by a collaboration of individuals from Finding Northwest Arkansas, Engage NWA, Arkansas Soul, and the Northwest Arkansas Council. According to Finding Northwest Arkansas, “we call them social weavers because the spirit of caring they bring to each interaction with others strengthens the social fabric of our community.” 

The eight individuals are:

  • Luis Adrian Bucio, cadet baker, Rockin’ Baker, Springdale, Arkansas
  • Charles “Kuri” Heam, retired pastor, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Springdale, Arkansas
  • Nick Jones, owner/barber, Trendsetter Barbershop and Salon, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Anh Ðào Kolbe, licensed clinical social worker, Springdale, Arkansas
  • Joi McGowan, licensed therapist, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Jazmin Rivas, patient navigator, Community Clinic, Springdale, Arkansas
  • Natalie Szymczak, first-grade teacher, Bentonville School District, Centerton, Arkansas
  • Nandhini Varadaraj, board secretary, Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation, Bentonville, Arkansas

The photographs were taken by Brandon Watts, owner of B. Watts Photography and Studio 4seven9.

Get to Know the Community Champions

Finding Northwest Arkansas Director Aron Shelton interviewed each of the social weavers to learn more about their influences, careers, and favorite places and things to do around Northwest Arkansas.

All interviews can be found on the Finding Northwest Arkansas website under “Stories.” You may even feel inspired to nominate someone in the Northwest Arkansas community to be featured on the website next!

After reading the interviews, come see their photographs in Crystal Bridges at 10, open now through September 27. Tickets available here.