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Crystal Bridges Unveils Sonic Blossom, the Museum’s First Ever Performance Art Exhibition  

Local singers in designed costume to offer museum visitors the gift of song.

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — On September 6, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will unveil Sonic Blossom, an ongoing participatory performance installation that involves a local singer in a designed costume approaching a museum visitor to offer the gift of a song—the singer’s choice of one of five lieder (songs) by the composer Franz Schubert—accompanied by a piano recording. Developed by LEE Mingwei while tending to his mother after surgery, Sonic Blossom captures the heart of unconditional care by having performers sing one of the lieder to museum guests who accept the gift. 

“While taking care of my mother, I found great beauty and comfort in Franz Schubert’s Lieder,” said LEE Mingwei. “Through the singers selected for this project, I hope to share this same beauty with those who visit Crystal Bridges. If a guest is offered one of these songs as a gift, it is my wish that they accept the encounter and allow the experience to transform them, inviting a moment of catharsis, joy, and connection.” 

Sonic Blossom will take place in the Salon Hang of the museum’s Early American Art Galleries on Thursdays through Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (except for opening week, when performances will take place Wednesday through Monday). During exhibition hours, a singer will roam the galleries in search of someone who may enjoy a musical gift. Once a visitor accepts the gift of a song, the two will return to the Salon Hang where the visitor will sit and enjoy a song performed especially for them. Other museum guests are invited—and encouraged—to watch the performance as well. 

Eight local singers will participate in Sonic Blossom on a rotating basis, each identified by the transformation robe they will be wearing during performances. The robe is designed by New York-based artist Kelima K, who created the cloak to transform the wearer into a magical being, bestowed with the power to give the gift of music. Performers include Dennese Adkins, Dennis Brewer, Theodor Carlson, Juan Garcia, Nina Garavito, Raquel King, Lisa Kulczak, and Moon-Sook Park. 

LEE Mingwei, who is celebrating the tenth anniversary of Sonic Blossom, will be onsite at Crystal Bridges from September 4 through 8 to attend rehearsals, performances, and an opening reception on September 6 at 11 a.m. In commemoration of the anniversary, there will be a live concert performance on September 8 of Schubert’s Lieder featuring soprano soloist Molly Pinson Simoneau alongside the full orchestra of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra (APO). The orchestra will be conducted by Maestro Steven Byess, music director for APO, the Portland Columbia Symphony Orchestra (Oregon), and the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. The concert will take place in the museum’s Great Hall at 7 p.m. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online. 

Additionally, the exhibition’s curator Xuxa Rodríguez will lead a gallery talk on September 9 at 1 p.m. to provide a behind-the-scenes look at the story that inspired the installation. 

Sonic Blossom is on view from September 6 through October 2. To learn more about the exhibition, visit here. 


About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since opening in 2011, the museum has welcomed more than 10.8 million visitors across its spaces, with no cost for admission. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron and philanthropist, Alice Walton. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from early American to current day and is enhanced by temporary exhibitions. The museum is nestled on 120 acres of Ozark landscape and was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A rare Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was preserved and relocated to the museum grounds in 2015. Crystal Bridges offers public programs including lectures, performances, classes, and teacher development opportunities. Some 300,000 school children have participated in the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. Additional museum amenities include a restaurant, gift store, library, and five miles of art and walking trails. In February 2020, the museum opened the Momentary in Downtown Bentonville (507 SE E Street), conceived as a platform for the art, food, and music of our time. For more information, visit The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.