Museum of American Art Being Built in Bentonville


A major new art museum and cultural center is being built within walking distance of the Bentonville town square. Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2006. The museum, Crystal Bridges, takes its name from an inspired glass-and-wood design that traverses a local spring-fed stream. Designed by Boston-based architect Moshe Safdie, the museum is expected to open in May 2009 and will present perspectives on the flow of America’s history and heritage through the eyes of the nation’s most influential artists.

During a press conference to announce the museum, Alice Walton, daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, said, “Crystal Bridges is a wonderful way to build appreciation for America’s artistic heritage and create cultural opportunities here in Northwest Arkansas.”

The museum will house a permanent collection of masterworks from American artists along with galleries dedicated to Native American and regional art and artists. In addition, temporary exhibitions drawn from national institutions will be displayed in the museum. A dynamic temporary exhibitions program will complement the holdings of the permanent collection. The permanent collection, assembled by Alice Walton and the Walton Family Foundation, is composed of paintings and sculptures by American artists from the Revolutionary period through the modern era.

The innovative museum design includes plans for approximately 100,000 square feet of gallery, library, meeting and office space. Crystal Bridges will house a 250-seat indoor auditorium, areas for outdoor concerts and public events, gallery rooms suitable for large receptions, as well as sculpture gardens and walking trails.

“We are striving to create a community place that inspires and draws people together,” said Mr. Safdie. “Bentonville is a friendly, close knit town that can grow in a very special way by having a major cultural resource within walking distance of the main square.”

For more information or to track progress of the musum, go to

Updated 01-24-2006

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