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We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy

Photographic black and white print where two outstretched arms clasp over a dark background. Above is a wampum belt and below is a border image of power lines, a river and groups of trees.
Exhibition
Modern Art Gallery
FREE
No Ticket Required

What does the US Constitution mean to you? The world’s longest-surviving written charter of government is much more than a piece of paper seen behind glass on a field trip. It is a living, breathing document that affects our lives every day.

 

In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a rare, original print of the US Constitution (one of only eleven known in the world) is going on view at Crystal Bridges in We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy. In this free exhibition, the document is displayed in conversation with works of art by influential historical and contemporary artists that provide diverse American perspectives on the nation’s founding principles.

Original prints of the Declaration of Independence, the proposed Bill of Rights, and the Articles of Confederation can be viewed along with several new acquisitions. Portraits of Native American leaders, including John Mathies’s depiction of Seneca leader Red Jacket, hang beside familiar paintings of revolutionary leaders such as Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull. Constitutional themes of equality, freedom, and justice are explored in twentieth-century works by Jacob Lawrence and Gordon Parks, among others, while living artists such as Roger Shimomura, Luis C. Garza, and Shelley Niro address past and present struggles for equality.

Opening July 2, we welcome all to witness history and consider our present moment through the power of art with this unique exhibition.

Admission to this exhibition is free.

We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by Kenneth C. Griffin.

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The exhibition will be located in the Modern Art Gallery. Admission to Crystal Bridges’ collection galleries is always free.

Past Events

Blogs

Conserving Works on Paper: Art and the US Constitution
a close-up image of text from the US constitution

Conserving Works on Paper: Art and the US Constitution

Art & Collection Exhibitions

Two conservation experts on handling a founding document and how you can preserve your family’s history.

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Gordon Hirabayashi: Civil Disobedience and the Constitution
colored lithograph work featuring a man of japanese american descent on the right side, a star in the middle, and the supreme court building on the left side with the american flag in the background

Gordon Hirabayashi: Civil Disobedience and the Constitution

Art & Collection Exhibitions
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Shelley Niro’s Borders Offers an Indigenous Perspective on Democracy
a person in a gallery stares at photograph works on a gallery wall from a side angle

Shelley Niro’s Borders Offers an Indigenous Perspective on Democracy

Art & Collection Exhibitions
Read more
Why does the "S" look like "⨜" in the US Constitution?
a close-up image of text from the US constitution

Why does the "S" look like "⨜" in the US Constitution?

Exhibitions
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A Revolutionary Museum Itinerary Based on the We the People Exhibition
a white banner that says

A Revolutionary Museum Itinerary Based on the We the People Exhibition

At the Museum Exhibitions
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I re-enter on the same day?
Yes, but if there is a line to enter the exhibition, you will have to return to the end of the line.

Is it accessible?
Yes, the exhibition is wheelchair accessible.

 

 

Learning and engagement programming for We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy is sponsored by

Scholastic, Walmart, and Tyson Family Foundation logos

Sarah and Ross Perot, Jr. Foundation | Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates, & Woodyard, P.L.L.C. | Johnny and Jeanie Morris, Bass Pro Shops | Alturas Foundation | Harriet and Warren Stephens, Stephens Inc. | Sotheby’s | Bob and Becky Alexander | Marybeth and Micky Mayfield | Lamar and Shari Steiger | Jeff and Sarah Teague / Citizens Bank | Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities | Avis and Bill Bailey | Scarlett and Neff Basore | June Carter Family | Terri and Chuck Erwin | Jackye and Curtis Finch | The Harrison and Rhonda French Family | Jim and Susan von Gremp | Laurice Hachem | Shannon and Charles Holley | Valorie and Randy Lawson / Lawco Energy Group | Donna and Mack McLarty | Steve and Susan Nelson | Neal and Gina Pendergraft | Helen Porter | JT and Imelda Rose | Lee and Linda Scott | Stella Boyle Smith Trust, Catherine and Michael Mayton, Trustees | William Reese Company