When you think Arkansas, you wouldn’t normally think art mecca, right? A few years ago, Alice Walton and Bentonville set out to change that. I partnered with Crystal Bridges, an incredible art museum nestled into the nature of Northwest Arkansas. Its collection includes Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Georgia O’Keeffe, to name a few.
The best part about Crystal Bridges? It’s free to view the permanent collection. Free.
Crystal Bridges is also home to a litany of temporary exhibits. If you are a member of the museum (it’s $55, and it comes with a gaggle of perks), entry to the temporary shows is also free. For non-members, entry is still only $20. From June 3 to August 14, Crystal Bridges will be the temporary home to a special Dale Chihuly exhibit titled, Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest. Two Chihuly pieces will also be in the main museum, free for viewing.
I was invited to a reception of influencers on June 2, the day prior to the opening of the Chihuly exhibit. We were given a preview of a new tasting menu, a few cocktails (hey-yo), and a guided tour of both the museum exhibit and the North Forest show.
First and foremost. The food. Holy moly.
connecticut blue point oysters + apple balsamic pearls + chile oil spheres + pickled apple batons
sesame-encrusted ahi tuna + grilled pineapple and bell peppers + soy-ginger reduction + sesame pearls
beet caprese: local arugula + rios’ beets + heirloom tomatoes + mozzarella + balsamic reduction + basil spheres + sumac
Lemme tell y’all, for a gal that easts a lot of grilled cheese, this stuff was a Godsend. I don’t even like beets, but I gobbled two plates of the caprese. It was a great start to the night, to say the least.
Then to the art.
If you have any knowledge of Chihuly, you’ll know the art was incredible.
The next piece has only been on display one other time: in the Barney’s New York window during Christmas 2015. Crazy, right?
One of my favorite parts of the exhibit is that Crystal Bridges renovated and reopened the North Forest, and it’s full of sculptures in the middle of the woods outside the museum. Even better? On Saturday nights during the summer, Crystal Bridges is hosting Chihuly Saturday Night, featuring a different band, a food truck and wine and beer.
Have I convinced you to go yet? I have to admit, of all the times I’ve been to Crystal Bridges (and it’s a lot- I work five minutes away and will go wander when I need to get out of the office), this is one of my favorites. I’ve been a Chihuly lover since I lived in St. Petersburg (home to a Chihuly museum). Now that I have it in my backyard, you can bet I’ll be there even more often.
For membership details, go here.
For a list of current exhibitions, go here.