Written by Arkansas Real Estate
This week we had the opportunity to catch up with Beth Bobbitt, Media Relations Manager of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Crystal Bridges has continued to set the bar of excellence nationally, globally, and in our own backyard.
Since the museum’s opening on 11/11/11, visitors have enjoyed five centuries of American masterworks, a groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition, educational programs, workshops, tours, and more. Additionally, more than 220,000 visitors a year utilize the museum’s 3.5 miles of walking trails.
It is safe to say, that their efforts have been the catalyst for our region's budding arts community, and well beyond Northwest Arkansas.
Thank you, Beth, for taking time to chat with us this week!
State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now is the largest exhibition in Crystal Bridges history in both size and scope, occupying 19,000 square feet of gallery space. As extraordinary as the exhibition is the search to find these artists. Museum curators set out on a 100,000 mile, year-long journey to meet with 1,000 artists all over the country. The result is a one-of-a-kind exhibition that draws from every region of the US, offering an unusually diverse look at American art. State of the Art brings together 102 artists and 227 works of art, ranging from canvas and paper to photography and video to installation and performance art, and more. The exhibition examines the ways in which today’s artists are informed by the past, innovating with materials old and new, and engaging deeply with issues relevant to our times. State of the Art has captured the national spotlight with coverage including a story on CBS Sunday Morning , Huffington Post, and more. Since opening on September 13, State of the Art has attracted more than 88,000 visitors, deepening understanding of contemporary art and culture. The exhibition is free and will remain on view through January 19.
In addition, Crystal Bridges offers an array of temporary exhibitions in 2015. Highlights include works from one of the finest collections of 20th-century art in the country, an exploration of landscape painting in the Americas, and works by acclaimed American artists Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol. For more information, visit here.
Can you tell us about the development of the trails and interactive exhibits?
The trails and ground of Crystal Bridges are a must-see part of the museum experience. More than 220,000 visitors a year utilize the museum’s 3.5 miles of walking trails on the 120-acre site, providing access to the beautiful Ozark landscape as well as outdoor artworks including The Way of Color Skyspace. The interactive installation is designed by world-renowned artist James Turrell and located on the scenic hillside of the Art Trail. For more information about the trails, plants, outdoor artwork, and maps, visit the trails and grounds website.
What events can the public look forward to?
State of the Art will continue highlighting the artists’ voices with unique engagement opportunities including workshop and art talks into December. For a unique sensory experience on New Year’s Eve, Crystal Bridges is offering the State of the ArtNEW 365, with access to the galleries, festive food and drink, stand-up comedy and music. A full listing of December programs and events is available is online. Information and registration are also available on the calendar of events on Crystal Bridges’ website and you can sign up for Crystal Bridges email updates at ENewsletter.
We know education is a strong pillar of which Crystal Bridges was founded. Can you tell us more about your educational initiatives?
Education is at the core of Crystal Bridges’ mission. Attendance numbers include curriculum-based field trips for K-12 students, which have served 74,000 students from across the region. Crystal Bridges offers year-round programming for all ages, including lectures, art-making workshops, films, gallery talks, and special events. Education highlights from 2014 include The Reese Teacher Fellowship, established to enrich curriculum by encouraging interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects, as well as a partnership with Virtual Arkansas to offer access to distance learning classes.