Amazing Art in Arkansas
Tropical Storm Harvey is still kicking in my area of Southeast Texas. We have had four days of steady rain, over 20 inches, where I live, but otherwise everything is fine here. Once the rain stops and the rivers and bayous go down, we will see the extent of the damage, and I’m sure we will all be busy helping those who were affected.
For now, since I can’t even get anywhere, I am going to share more of my trip to Arkansas.
After seeing the murals in Fort Smith, we headed north to the town of Bentonville. A year or so ago, I had happened to see a TV show about the Crystal Bridges art museum founded by Alice Walton, the Walmart heiress, so when I found out that it was in Bentonville, I looked forward to visiting.
Even better, there was a big exhibit of Dale Chihuly’s works outside in the forest. (The inside gallery portion of that show had closed just a day or two before, but that might have been a good thing, because according to the docents, the museum had been really crowded during that exhibit.)
Viewers were asked to vote on one of four Chihuly pieces that would become part of Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection. Both my husband and I voted for this one, Fiori Boat, even though it was sadly down in the rankings at the time. But just today I saw that it did win the vote! Hurray!
This is one of the other pieces in the running, Sole D’Oro. It fits its location really well. Bored during this storm, I had fun with some Photoshop filters.
We toured most of the museum, including the brand new installation of Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome.
I was surprised by the number of really famous paintings that are housed there; I know if I had been asked the location of portraits of George Washington, I would have guessed the Smithsonian, but there are two side-by-side at Crystal Bridges. I loved seeing the famous Rosie the Riveter, and a quilt that Faith Ringgold made for Maya Angelou’s birthday present.
My favorite piece was called We the People by Nari Ward, and you can read more about the artist and his thoughts here.
When I heard the prices paid for these works of art, though, ($35.5 million for just one!) I was thinking I would spend that money differently. It’s great to have a museum in the middle of the country to give more people access to art, but if it was me, I would prefer to donate art supplies to schools all over America. It’s nice to see well-known art, but my own opinion is that it’s more important to enable each person to access and practice their own creativity.
The museum does seem to have chosen works by a diversity of artists, and it does make its whole collection available online, so those are factors in its favor. Between the murals in Fort Smith and the collection in Bentonville, my preference is for the murals, maybe because they were more novel to me. But I am glad I got to visit Crystal Bridges this once.
D > Floriboat!
Yes, we could have used it this week to float people to safety! 🙂
J > Never, ever, ever again will I complain about the amount of rain we get here. You’ve had more in one storm than we get in one year. And we’re not on low-lying flatlands, but everything drains away really quick, and even if the ditches are choked up, there’s no harm will come of it.
Yes, they should never have put a city on a huge flood plain! But back in the day when they started this place, it was so great as a harbor and as farmland that didn’t have rocks and trees all over, and then 100 years later, well, you might as well put the refineries where the harbor is and there is no dramatic scenery to speak of, and before you know it, here we are in Venice on the Gulf. Maybe there will be a good thing coming out of this storm in that it will make an impact on public awareness, and people will have an idea what it’s like before they come here. I feel so sorry for people who just moved in, never dreaming something like this could happen.
Whoa, at first I thought the boat was filled with balloons 🙂 Now I see it is Glass! Interesting.
OH I do hope you will continue to be safe…..that storm is heartbreaking in it’s devastation.
I get it re the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for paintings……….embarrassing.
Yeah, to me it is one thing if you have a good eye, and pick up a painting from an unknown for $1000, and then years later, everyone thinks, “That is a piece that opened up new possibilities and started new trends,” or “That is a piece that perfectly captures its time.” It’s another to wait 100 years after something was painted, listen to the experts praise it, and then decide you have to have it for however many millions it is going to sell for. It’s like the difference between hunting for your food with a bow and arrow in the vast wilderness, and hunting with a rifle at a deer feeder that spins out food on a schedule. I don’t give much credit for the second option.
But! I guess I will never have to face the danger of deciding where to spend my millions. 🙂
I’ve heard of that museum and put it on my “to see” list if I’m ever in those parts. I just came across this announcement of a huge Walton Foundation grant for an art school at Univ. of Arkansas http://www.artnews.com/2017/08/23/university-of-arkansas-to-establish-new-school-of-art-with-120-million-gift-from-walton-family-foundation/
Hope the flooding is merely an inconvenience for you.
That was an interesting article. AND I found out more about the status of our art museums there — I have not heard a word about them on local news. So thanks! And also thank you for the good wishes!
I have one more site for you, a digital catalogue of indigenous American textiles: http://threads-of-time.carlos.emory.edu/
Oh, that is beautiful! I will love reading all the information. Thank you!
DH & I leave on Oct. 8th for a train trip to Seattle (tickets for the Chihuly museum included in the vacation package!!!)….so looking forward to it. This storm will affect so many for months…………Glad you are well….hugs……
I am supposed to be in Seattle in late October so I will see about tickets for the museum too!
Thank you for the good wishes!
Hi ! Your blog is wonderful, and your photos are outstanding. So glad that you were able to visit a Chilhuly exhibit. His work is really one of a kind. Thanks again for the fabulous photos, with best wishes from Marina and Daryl Lynn at Quilt Inspiration
Thanks! I’m glad to return the favor and offer you a post you like! I love your blog too and wish I had a lot more time to pore over it.
Hope Tropical Storm Harvey would die down fast. Glad your area is fine. 20 inches of rain over 4 days is an insane amount.
By the way, thanks for the post. The Crystal Bridges art museum is a two hours drive away for me. I should visit it some day. The Chihuly pieces looks amazing.
It is a lovely museum, and 3 days a week, I believe, they stay open until 9 pm, so you don’t have to feel so rushed about getting through it all. (And, if you wanted to extend your trip, there are a lot of hotels in town that aren’t too expensive — they may fill up during a Walmart convention or something, but they seemed pretty empty when we were there.) The Chihuly pieces in the forest are lit up and I bet they look fantastic in the dark. I don’t know if they let people out there every night or just once a week, so just check before you go!
Thanks for the great tip! It will be great to see the Chihuly pieces lit up.
Such a lovely vibrant post as storm Harvey rages round you – horrific pics being beamed over to us of soaked, sodden and courageous people clutching babes and animals as the floods swirl around them. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. As for Chihuly – well, I have a weakness for his art and would definitely vote for that piece too!
We have been watching the news a lot while the storm was ongoing, and I think the coverage was very true to the events and to the spirit of Houston. We go through events like this every few years, although the ones we have already been through will now seem minor in comparison. There are some places that flood often, but it has never been so widespread for so long. But we really do get along and help each other. I know the aftermath will test us though and I hope our spirit pulls through. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!
I’ve been thinking about you and hoping you weren’t being devastated by this crazy storm–but, oh my, so many people have lost everything! It’s just all so awful and never-ending. I like seeing the photos, especially of the Chihulys. I am torn about the idea of art museums vs. art supplies for the masses. I think we need museums, to preserve and inspire, and create aesthetic sensibility. On the other hand, I think I agree that I admire the person who recognizes genius and collects work that gains value over the years, rather than just splashing millions of dollars around.
Storm-wise, we will start hearing today about who among the people we know needs our help. It’s a big job but we have experience. 🙂
I agree with you that we need museums, but it seems to me that there are currently plenty, and they are struggling, and then on top of that, the arts education programs for kids have been being cut for years. So, if it was me, I would maybe build a secure building where existing museums could send traveling exhibits (as every year I see an exhibit from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts at the Bellagio in Las Vegas), and that would help people in my region have more exposure to the arts while possibly generating income for the home museum, and then I would fund art supplies for kids. Of course I don’t really know the economics of efficient results in the art world and that may not be a viable option, but I read that they funded Crystal Bridges with an $800 million fund, so that seems like enough money to play with.
That being said, I shouldn’t make guidelines for other people’s behavior without making sure I am in line with my own prescription, so I looked for local art programs I could donate to, and haven’t found any so far. Maybe at the library. I will look into that.
I have heard it truly is a destination museum, and I’ve wondered how to fit a trip into my life. Someday…
Good to hear from you and that all is well (enough) in your neighborhood. Hugs…
Sounds like you need to plan a road trip!
We got home from there in 11 hours, and I am not convinced we took the best route home. It looks like it would be about that far for you too. Sometime when you are not quilt guild president and workshop instructor! 🙂
We’re at about 5600+ miles on road trips so far this summer. Next month we’ll travel another 4,000 miles (not all by car.) I think Arkansas will wait for another year. 🙂
So glad you are out of the danger zone.. but I’m not at all surprised that you are looking to help others. Great article as always..
I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
Thank you, Chris
I’ve been thinking of you, with that lake right by your house (if I interpreted previous pics correctly). Hope you dry out soon!
That is our own pond, which is just 1 acre. Decades ago it was just a small trickle in a deep ravine — the previous owner put up a big dam and turned it into this pond. Fortunately he did everything right, and the dam is still sturdy, and it has little spillways on either side that go off into more ravines on our property. So the pond can come up pretty fast, but it only gets half way to the house, and then it goes through the spillways and down, but it doesn’t affect any neighbors. We are very lucky because we would not have had the know-how to build it properly!
So we are dry and so is everyone else we know, thankfully.
Glad all is well. Thanks for the update 🙂
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