A world-class collection of American art, stunning architecture, and 120 acres of Ozark forest with five miles of trails. Admission to the museum is always free.
Planning a visit to Crystal Bridges this spring? Use this guide to learn what’s on and what to expect this season.
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Museum & Buildings
Trails and Grounds open daily sunrise to sunset.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday Nights*:
Adults: $22 | Adult members: $15
Youth 18 and under: FREE
Friday, and Saturday Nights*:
Adults: $27 | Adult members: $20
Youth 18 and under: FREE
MEMBERS: Log in to see discount options.
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Advanced tickets are encouraged.
Walk-up tickets are available as capacity allows and are an additional $5 for each ticket category.
*Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays; Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas
Call the Inclement Weather line to check on any cancellations: (479) 657-2488.
What to Expect
Enhance your Listening Forest experience with food, drinks, and a dedicated concierge.
After its successful debut last August, Listening Forest returns in 2023 for two additional runs. Created by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, the North Forest experience uses light, sound, and projections to create an interactive walk through the woods. This site-specific exhibition brings together eight immersive installations, each one activated by you: your heart rate, your body, your voice, and your movements direct the forest’s response. This project brings together art and technology in a natural setting to create poetic, shared experiences and features a soundtrack composed by electronic musician Scanner (Robin Rimbaud).
Add your heartbeat to an array of 3,000 lightbulbs each glimmering to the pulse of a different participant from the past. Control giant, 20-foot-tall stick figures made of light. Leave a voice recording that will join a chorus of echoes left by previous forest visitors, and much more.
The forest is listening–how will you respond?
Some artworks in this exhibition contain light effects. Viewing discretion is advised for visitors with sensitivity to visual light stimulation. Hosts at each installation can provide more information.
Acting as an invitation to experience Listening Forest, the first work guests see consists of three monitors. Across these screens, faces blur and combine into an ever-changing composite portrait. As you approach, your likeness is quickly mapped and mixed with a collection of 600,000 previous participants to create an abstract and constantly modulating landscape of humanity.
In its more utilitarian applications, facial recognition software like this is often used for surveillance, where it enlists biometric data to single out and police individuals. Here, Lozano-Hemmer employs the same technology to underscore our shared humanity, creating a composite portrait of faces that revels in anonymity. The resulting imagery creates a poetic inversion of this software, one that emphasizes inclusion rather than division.
Arkansas Text Stream
Entering the forest path from a wellspring just beyond view, a rush of letters projects onto a 70-yard-length of pathway, slowly traveling downstream. Flowing according to fluid dynamics in a non-repeating pattern, the journey of the letters is programmed to be as unpredictable in its movement as the motion of water. As you progress along the path, your body creates ripples and jetties among the texts. If you slow or stop, phrases will pool around your feet, revealing wisdom from the past, reflections on the present, and hopes for the future, all sourced from regional community members.
This stream of texts is ever-expanding. If you would like to add your own thoughts to this work, please submit your contributions.
3,000 pulsing lightbulbs undulate in response to the topography of the Ozarks. Temporarily displaying the heartbeats of the last 3,000 participants, the work is about the fleeting nature of life where each new heartbeat replaces the last one. Like a memento mori, the work is a gentle reminder of death’s inevitability presented in a way that celebrates the beauty of presence and life.
Lozano-Hemmer took inspiration from a scene from the 1960 Mexican film, Macario. In a scene from this film, thousands of candles set inside a cave each symbolize a single life. The artist combined that visual with the experience of hearing the dual heartbeats of his twins. Fittingly, the pulsing lights and immersive chorus of pulses creates a near-womblike environment in the forest.
This work features a towering projection and glows with the most generous use of color in the exhibition. Employing a thermal camera, the familiar color scheme—sometimes associated with surveillance footage—is now rendered as colorful particles. As you stand in front of the screen, these dots gradually drift outward, bouncing and swirling around as you disrupt their paths with your own movements.
Synched with an audio track, a dark screen glitches and shutters in time with the audio before opening up to a brilliant screen of color and particles. As the track reaches its close, the heat signatures become more ragged and erratic as the entire image returns to black, and the loop repeats in an endless cycle of renewal.
Placed on opposite sides of the North Forest, two Remote Pulse stations connect strangers across the exhibition. A small terminal at either end has sensors for guests to place their hands. When both sides are activated, you’ll feel the pulse of the stranger on the other side under your own palms. Overhead, a set of pencil-lights pulse in time with the user’s heartbeat while crossing with the stranger’s pulsing beams above the forest.
An earlier version of this work, Border Tuner, connected participants across the US/Mexico border through heartbeats and the ability to speak to strangers. Constantly adapting to new settings, here Lozano-Hemmer removes the voice component and adds the lights, protecting anonymity as participants create their visible bridge of connection in the sky.
Embodied Light Beacons
Looming large, three giant stick figures meet in a forest clearing. Composed of limbs made of light, each robot-like figure stand motionless until you step behind it and control its arms, legs, and head by moving your own appendages. At this scale, all actions are captured as exaggerated beams of light that illuminate the night sky or enfold a fellow giant in a well-lit embrace. This amplification of size, coupled with the coordinated droning swooshes and sound effects of moving “limbs,” encourages you to view your own body in a new way.
From a distance, a steady murmur of voices radiates from a stand of illuminated trees. As you come closer, it’s apparent that individual voices are coming from specific trees and are punctuated with lights that blink with the words being spoken. Three nearby intercoms invite you to add your own voice to the memory of the forest. Each new addition shifts the recordings from one tree to another, changing the overall hum of the woods.
This chorus of new voices is joined by an audio archive selected in conjunction with regional, community partners. They range from historic recordings to more recent soundbites.
If you would like to add your own voice to this work, please submit your contributions.
A bridge spans a dry ravine scattered with an array of light batons. As you speak or sing, microphones on the bridge transmit those sounds downstream as white streaks of light cascading towards the valley’s vanishing point. After a few minutes of gathering sounds, the batons at the end of the ravine glow blue, a thick fog starts to form, and a cacophonous composite of the gathered sounds slowly creeps toward the bridge.
Eventually, this wall of audio, blue light, and fog engulfs you completely. Once the moment passes, the setting becomes quiet in anticipation of a new round of sound offerings. If the forest is always listening, Summon expresses that idea in a tangible way by giving visitors back what they gave to it.
Scanner composed each of the exhibition’s tracks in direct collaboration with Rafael Lozano-Hemmer to create an experience that is atmospheric, dynamic, and expertly tailored to enhance the Listening Forest experience. Download the soundtrack.
Listening Forest by Scanner
Lozano-Hemmer is an award-winning media artist originally from Mexico City. He creates platforms for public participation using technologies such as robotic lights, digital fountains, computer vision, artificial intelligence, and telematic networks. His work has been commissioned by events such as the Vancouver Olympics, collected by museums including MoMA, Hirshhorn, Tate, and SFMOMA, and exhibited in art biennials in Venice, Sydney, New Orleans, Shanghai, and Singapore, among others. Listening Forest will be the most significant display of his outdoor installations to date, providing a mid-career survey of his largest works.
Scanner traverses the experimental terrain between sound and space, connecting a bewilderingly diverse array of genres. Since 1991 he has been intensely active in sonic art, producing concerts, installations, and recordings. His albums Mass Observation (1994), Delivery (1997), and An Ascent (2020) have been hailed by critics as innovative and inspirational works of contemporary electronic music. To learn more about Scanner’s practice, visit his website.
We would like to thank the following community members for their important voice and text contributions to the artworks Arkansas Text Stream and Voice Forest:
Arkansas Soul Writers
Courtesy of Ozark Highlands Radio and the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism
Speakers: Alaina Balke, Dylan Hawf, Bobby Glendy, Bonnie Montgomery, Caleb Ryan Martin, Charley Sandage, Cindy Woolf, Dane Joneshill, Jay Unger, Molly Mason, Dave Smith, JC Bonds, Jimbo Mathis, Joe David Rice, Joe Purdy, Marty Stuart, Mary Gillihan, Pam Setser, Patsy Montana, Richard Mason, Tom Simmons, Willi Carlisle
Noelia Cerna, Ozark Poets & Writers Collective
The David and Barbara Pryor Center for Arkansas Oral and Visual History and Arkansas Story Vault
Speakers: Gerald Alley, E. Lynn Harris, Dorothy Gilliam, Edith Irby Jones, Randall Ferguson Sr., Ida Adcox, Janis Kearney, Dr. Sheldon Riklon, Melisa Laelan, George Takei, Al Witte, Margaret Moore Whillock, Beatrice Shelby, Juanita McClellan, Christopher Mercer, John Ware, Peggy Parks, Gordon Morgan, Donna Axum Whitworth, Jim Blair, Milton Crenchaw, Margaret Clark, George Haley, Dale Bumpers, JB Hunt, Betty Bumpers, Jocelyn Elders, Mike Beebe, Jerry Jones, Bob Lamb
Ra-Ve Cultural Foundation and Dhirana Academy of Classical Dance
Speakers: Pearlyn, Shreya Ramani, Medhansh Sankaran, Aparna Asok, Srividya, Nandhini, Clemens, Paru Muni, Vinitha, Allan Paulose, Sudhir Katke, Chithra Sandeep