Let me start off by saying Bentonville, Arkansas is the cutest city and we were able to visit at the perfect time. Our stay at the 21c Museum Hotel was immaculate and we were just steps away from all of the fun and beauty Bentonville has to offer.
For those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t know until getting there), Bentonville has a rich history, being that Sam Walton started his first variety store in Bentonville town square, which eventually led to the creation of Walmart and Sam’s Club – and was the start of the world’s largest retailer and the wealth behind one of America’s wealthiest family. Sam and his wife, Helen, birthed three sons and one daughter.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was founded by Alice Walton, the Waltons’ only daughter, who has been reportedly collecting art since the age of ten. Crystal Bridges is the newest American art museum to open more than a generation. Since it’s opening in 2011, Crystal Bridges has welcomed more than 4.2 million people from all over the world.
What I loved the most about this intriguing museum, was Crystal Bridge’s mission to ‘welcome ALL in a setting that unites art and nature‘. Because of the museum’s generous sponsors, thousands of school children are able to visit for programs and tours, free of charge!
Crystal Bridges also has over 4 miles of walking and biking trails, which my family and I enjoyed throughout our trip, that lead to the museum. While walking along the trails, we were greeted by various sculptures, gardens, and interactive learning areas.
Our days consisted of waking up in our beautiful hotel room, grabbing brunch and blazing the trail to the museum. Crystal Bridges offers a wide range of temporary exhibitions each year, and the artwork in their permanent collection galleries change often. We got the pleasure of walking through the Nature’s Nation tour, which is open from May 25th to September 9th, 2019. American Art and Environment is a new exhibition that examines American artists’ impact on shaping environmental understanding and stewardship.
The Nature Nation’s tour was highly informative and strives to compel us to consider our relationship to the environment and the human impact on the planet. My hubby is an artist himself and being able to view and discuss art for the day was nice. Not to mention, our kids enjoyed the art and the commentary as well.
To connect nature and art even more, Crystal Bridges is exhibiting Color Field this summer. Color Field is an outdoor sculpture garden, filled with enlarged forms of art against the backdrop of the museum’s North Forest and select locations around the museum. I was fortunate enough to join a panel of three artist whose art is featured this year and hearing in-depth stories of how they became artists was incredible and intriguing!
Speaking of the museum’s North Forest, Crystal Bridges is hosting a concert every Saturday this summer at 7 p.m. between June 1st and July 27th. Yarn & The Vine Brothers will awaken the forest with their great tunes!
Pro Tip: If you are walking, be sure to use the maps in order to find each event. Also, don’t forget your lawn chairs and blankets for the concert. Kids are free!
That’s not all, Bentonville Square is the place to be when you’re not at the museum. 21c Museum Hotel sits directly in the middle of all of the action and every attraction is only minutes away on foot. From the Saturday Farmer’s Market, to the Spark Cafe’ Soda Fountain, there are so many things to see and enjoy.
Of course we had to stop for ice cream at the Spark Cafe’ Soda Fountain, which shares the same building as the Walmart Museum. Not only was the ice cream delicious, it’s still priced at 99 cents a scoop. Along with great architecture, a peaceful surrounding and art everywhere, Crystal Bridges and the surrounding square of Bentonville, Arkansas was definitely an unforgettable experience!
Summer exhibition tickets include Nature’s Nation and Color Field and are $16 between June 1st and September 9th. From September 11th through the 30th, Color Field tickets will be $12. Both exhibitions are free for members, youth ages 18 and older, and veterans. I’d love to know your thoughts below. Have you been to Bentonville? Do you plan on visiting Crystal Bridges with your family? I sure hope so!