Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art takes its name from an inspired glass-and-wood design that traverses a local spring-fed stream. Designed by Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie, the museum complex opened 11/11/11 and presents perspectives on the flow of America's history and heritage through the eyes of the nation's most influential artists.
During a press conference, Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, said, "Crystal Bridges is a wonderful way to build appreciation for America's artistic heritage and create cultural opportunities here in Northwest Arkansas."
The museum houses a permanent collection of masterworks from American artists along with galleries dedicated to Native American and regional art and artists. In addition, temporary exhibitions drawn from national institutions are displayed in the museum. A dynamic temporary exhibitions program complements the holdings of the permanent collection. The permanent collection, assembled by Alice Walton and the Walton Family Foundation, is composed of paintings and sculptures by American artists from the Revolutionary period through the modern era.
The innovative museum design includes plans for approximately 100,000 square feet of gallery, library, meeting and office space. Crystal Bridges houses a 250-seat indoor auditorium, areas for outdoor concerts and public events, gallery rooms suitable for large receptions, as well as sculpture gardens and walking trails. The museum is built on 100 acres of scenic woodland donated by the Walton family.
The museum's permanent collection includes numerous notable paintings, including: portraitist Charles Willson Peale's 18th century painting of a confident George Washington completed near the end of the Revolutionary War; and Hudson River School masterwork Kindred Spirits by Asher B. Durand. Other announced artists and works represented include Charles Bird King's early 19th century portraits of American Indian leaders and Winslow Homer's depictions of the interplay between man and nature.
For more information, visit crystalbridges.org.