Crystal Bridges Museum, The Home of Wal-Mart Art
Would you travel to Bentonville, Arkansas for the art? You might want to in 2010 after Crystal Bridges, the art museum being created by Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton opens. Walton is creating a national art museum that is dedicated to American artists from the Colonial period to the present. In 2005 Walton outbid a couple of East Coast museums, paying a record price for the 1849 Asher B. Durand work "Kindred Spirits." While some have expressed a certain snobbery over a museum founded by Wal-Mart others applaud the project both for the impressive nature of Walton's collection and for her decision to install the art in an area that is underserved when it comes to major art museums.
The museum design by architect Moshe Safdie is done in glass and light wood and is arranged around two ponds at the center of the compound which are spanned by bridges. The building is set on around 100 acres of Ozarks forest, donated by the Walton family. Visitors will follow a lane through the woods to a knoll that overlooks the pavilions. From the knoll, glass elevators take visitors to a courtyard with a glass lobby that has a view of the water. The museum will offer 34,000 square feet of exhibition space as well as a cafe, performance hall, library and research center. Crystal Bridges is expected to bring in 250,000 visitors a year.
Gallery: Crystal Bridges Museum