Students gathered at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville on Friday night for a free cup of drip coffee, dessert and an overall cultural experience sponsored by ELEVATE. Though many reasons exist to visit the incredible works of art that live in our backyard, students explained what attracts them most to the museum.
Though the museum holds hundreds of priceless works, students found the building itself to be a work of art.
“I love the architecture around here,” said junior Jessica Williams. “Especially the room next door where it just opens up in that beautiful golden glow. I love taking pictures in there. Being a photography major, I just have to do it.”
One step inside the doors and it is hard to remember you are in rural Arkansas. The sophisticated atmosphere creates a unique experience.
“Part of the thing that really astonishes me is that when you come into a museum, [the artwork] is so much more valuable because it is on a wall in a really elaborate frame,” said junior Tucker Cowie. “Whereas if you are just going through Google images, you don’t have the frame, you don’t have the people around you, and you are just kind of looking at something that was created but you don’t really have the time to think about who it’s from or where it came from.”
The mix of old and new
Each student preferred different time periods of art, but Crystal Bridges brings together art from the 18th to 21st centuries all in one place.
“I like the contemporary art over the historical,” said junior Sarah Bladdick. “I think because that is just more of where we are today, but I appreciate the historical because it brought us to where we are today.”
The temporary exhibits
The museum’s frequent swapping of temporary exhibits ensures something new to see each time. Currently, the museum displays “See the Light: The Luminist Tradition in American Art” and “Moshe Safdie: The Path to Crystal Bridges.”
“I really like the temporary ‘See the Light’ exhibit,” said senior Daniel Fish. “I am always a fan of the temporary things coming in and out… I like this one in particular because I am a fan of light and what that represents—what is good and at the same time not particularly attainable.”
The beautiful Ozark landscape surrounds the museum, including 3.5 miles of trails, the historic Crystal Spring and several outdoor sculptures.
“Unfortunately it’s night because [my favorite part] is usually the landscape,” said senior Brendon Hawk. “I was looking forward to coming here during the day because the landscape is absolutely beautiful.”
If none of the previous reasons attract you, maybe the price will. Visiting the museum is always absolutely free.
“I like that things are free,” said junior Danielle Rogg. “I’m a big fan of that.”