Oct 18, 2011 BENTONVILLE, Ark., October 18, 2011 The Veterans Day observance on the Bentonville Downtown Square on Friday, Nov. 11, will feature an extra element of celebration. This year’s event will include a ceremony celebrating the public opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The event will take place in downtown Bentonville, concurrent with national Veterans Day observances, beginning at 11 a.m. All are invited to join in the morning’s program, which is free and open to the public. From 10:30 to 11 a.m., the Bentonville High School Choir will entertain those assembled in the square. At 11 a.m., a lone piper, Harriett Sisson, will open the observances from the Benton County Courthouse steps with “Amazing Grace,” followed by comments by H.D. McCarty, Brigadier General of the US Air Force / Reserves / Air Guard (retired). Colonel Troy Galloway, director of Community Development for the City of Bentonville, and commander of the National Guard’s 142nd field artillery brigade, will lead the Veterans Day observances with comments, a moment of silence in honor of fallen veterans, and a recognition of all past and present military personnel in the audience, after which, the third grade class from Bentonville’s R.E. Baker Elementary School will lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. The celebration will feature the voice talents of two Grammy-Award-winning singers: soprano Leona Mitchell, and singer and composer Joanne Shenandoah. Leona Mitchell, a native of Oklahoma and member of the Chickasaw tribe, is a Grammy Award Winning soprano who sang for 18 seasons at The Metropolitan Opera of New York. She has performed for all of the greatest opera houses around the world and has appeared with many major symphony orchestras. Mitchell’s appearance at this event is courtesy of Opera Arkansas. Joanne Shenandoah is a singer, actress and educator. A Wolf Clan member of the Iroquois Confederacy, Shenandoah has performed at such high-profile venues as Carnegie Hall, the White House, Kennedy Center, Earth Day on the Mall-DC, and the Parliament of the World’s Religions in South Africa. Following the Veterans Day observance, a celebration of the public opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will commence with Crystal Bridges Executive Director Don Bacigalupi. The program will include comments by museum founder and Board Chair, Alice Walton; and Crystal Bridges designer, the world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. In addition, former President and Arkansas Governor William Jefferson Clinton will give a brief video greeting in honor of the museum’s opening. “The museum staff have been overwhelmed at the enthusiasm and support our community has shown for Crystal Bridges,” said Bacigalupi. “We are delighted to be able to share this exciting moment with all those who have been so eagerly anticipating the museum’s opening.” Following the public celebration on the square, Crystal Bridges will open its doors at 12:30 p.m. to the first set of timed-ticket-holders. Thanks support from Walmart, admission is sponsored for all visitors; however, a reserved ticket will be necessary for museum entry through Jan. 2, 2012. All tickets for opening day have been booked, but spaces are still available for Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend, and beyond. “We look forward to sharing our wonderful collection of American masterworks with all of Northwest Arkansas and the nation over the next weeks, months, and years,” Bacigalupi said. “Our goal is to touch the lives of everyone in our region through exhibitions of works in our collection, as well as educational programs and social events. We hope everyone will come visit Crystal Bridges and enjoy our collection again and again.” Timed tickets are available for entry at half-hour intervals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Tuesday, when the museum is closed. The museum is open until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. All visitors, age one and up, will need a reserved ticket to enter the museum. Infants need not be ticketed. Visitors should plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to the entry time on the ticket. To reserve tickets online (preferred): Click here To reserve tickets by phone: Call 479.418.5700 between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Additional information about Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is available online at CrystalBridges.org. A museum information booth also will be set up at the opening celebration on the Bentonville Downtown Square.