Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we caught up with Diane Carroll, Media Relations Manager with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Last year we were able to highlight the museum as it opened, and now as we near the one year anniversary we thought it would be great to catch up with them and get a recap of all the success this amazing museum has brought to Northwest Arkansas. Many thanks to Diane and the staff of Crystal Bridges for their time and committment to Northwest Arkansas.
We are approaching the one year anniversary of Crystal Bridges. What has the response been like this first year? How many people have visited? What has the feedback been?
The response has been extraordinary, and by our one year anniversary, we will have welcomed more than 550,000 visitors. More than 7,100 families and households have joined the museum as members, making us one of the best community-supported museums in the nation, plus our diverse programs—from Family Sundays to Art Night Out to school tours—have been filled to capacity, expressing the community’s interest and engagement.
If you visit our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/crystalbridgesmuseum), you’ll get a sense of the feedback, with comments such as “lovely beyond words”, “love having Crystal Bridges so close by”, and “so many opportunities to learn.”
Do you have any events planned for your anniversary?
Our inaugural year anniversary is Sunday, November 11, which is also Veteran’s Day. In order to keep the emphasis on the spirit of the day, we’re focusing on family and community centered activities at the museum, with special programming and some celebratory treats, as well as showing our newly released documentary film, The Art of Crystal Bridges, all day. The film chronicles the founding and development of the museum, and it seems an appropriate time to reflect back on the work undertaken from construction to completion.
What collections can we look forward to in the near future?
Two temporary exhibitions opened concurrently on Saturday, Oct. 13, both focusing on light as a source of inspiration for works of art and architecture. See the Light: The Luminist Tradition in American Art traces the importance of light for American artists from the nineteenth century through today. This exhibition will also premiere a major new acquisition to Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection, the painting “No. 210/No. 211 (Orange)” by Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko. Moshe Safdie: The Path to Crystal Bridges showcases the masterful use of light in architectural design by Crystal Bridges architect Moshe Safdie. Both exhibitions will be on view through January 28, 2013.
In January, we’ll debut an exhibition featuring selected works from an important collection of 468 American prints, produced mostly between 1925 and 1945, that was recently acquired for our permanent collection. And in March, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell opens.
How does Crystal Bridges work with other local groups/nonprofits to give back to the area?
As a nonprofit organization focused solely on creating a world-class museum for the benefit of the public, we team with the community in a multitude of ways. Artists, educators and other professionals work with us on creating unique programming, and our school visit program will have welcomed more than 11,000 children here during our inaugural year—and that’s simply the number of students attending with their school. And, since general admission to Crystal Bridges is sponsored by Walmart, there is no cost to view the museum’s permanent collection, allowing access for anyone interested in visiting.
We also work with area visitors bureaus and a variety of other community stakeholders to determine ways in which we can develop synergies and continue to fuel the momentum we’ve experienced.
Can you tell me about how the trails/restaurant/other amenities have added to the overall success of the museum?
Our mission is to unite the power of art with the beauty of landscape, and surely our Ozark woodland setting is an integral part of the Crystal Bridges experience. The museum has become a destination for enjoying not only art, but also architecture, nature, trails, educational offerings, fine dining, and even our library. These diverse offerings ensure that we offer something for nearly every member of the community, and welcoming and engaging our visitors is our greatest measure of success.