I took the opportunity to stop at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas on my way back from Kansas City last week. It has been on my list of things to do since it opened in 2011. Let me just say: If you are ever in the area, you really must stop in for a visit. It is a truly magnificent museum and a surprising find in such a small town as Bentonville.
The permanent collection is wonderful and free to visit. Some of my favorites on display include works by Andrew Wyeth & Richard Estes. Also, depending on the timing of your visit they may have touring exhibits on display for a nominal fee. I was fortunate to catch the William S Paley Collection-A Taste for Modernism, featuring works by Gaugin, Matisse, Cezanne, Degas, Picasso and others. If you visit before July 7th, it is worth the $8 admission fee.
Do not think you must be a huge fan of strolling through art museums studying the works on display to visit here. This particular museum is even worth visiting for the architecture of the building, the lush outdoor landscaping complete with miles of outdoor walking/jogging trails, and the delicious restaurant, Eleven. Through September 1st a featured free exhibit is the Global Citizen-the Architecture of Moshi Safdie. Visit the link for more information on this interesting exhibit.
The day I visited the sky was threatening rain at any moment. Guess what? The museum provides umbrellas free for use on the grounds. Armed with said umbrella I headed out to explore the trails and outdoor sculptures. After a nice long walk in a light, sporadic mist, it did finally begin to rain in earnest. I’ve never walked in the woods in the rain with an umbrella. Most everyone else had retreated to the indoor portions of the museum, and the gardens became so peaceful and with the sound of the rain on the leaves and water. I lingered behind snapping numerous photos from under the trusty umbrella. Rather than ruining my visit to the outside portion of the grounds, the rain made the experience so much better. My advice? Tour the grounds-rain or shine, and definitely enjoy the restaurant for lunch.
Enough words. Enjoy some of the photos from a most wonderful day.
Have you visited Crystal Bridges? If so, let me know what you thought about it in the comments. Any other suggestions for maybe lesser known or smaller art museums to visit?