Ms. Alice Walton (yes, of the Bentonville Waltons whose empire is known as WalMart), envisioned, created, and at last birthed an art complex so fabulous it easily holds its own among the world's most renowned treasure houses. And what's best about it is that is is exclusively American Art (hence the name).
To pull me out of the house after having slaved over Book 4 of the Legends of the Winged Scarab, The Crystal Curse, friends suggested I join them on the three-hour drive to visit the CRYSTAL BRIDGES Museum of American Art.
(Another "Crystal" -- get it? How providential was that? If I believed in my own fables, I surely would think it was a sign...)
During my long life, I have traipsed through most of Europe's grand museums, and even worked at the renowned Boston Museum of Fine Arts (did you get that in "Sirocco"?); so one might assume I am a little jaded.Reproduced under the "Fair Use" law from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art website http://crystalbridges.org/about/
Well, let me tell you: Crystal Bridges can not only hold it's own but, in my and every one else's book, it is right up there with the most prestigious collections. However, what impressed me personally the most was the modern architecture blending into a seemingly natural setting. Soaring ceilings, concave and convex beams defying gravity as glass and steel melded into each other, the vista tumbling down into the pool.
Walking trails encircle the acreage leading you through a soothingly natural and seemingly monochromatic landscape. But don't be deceived. The work to produce this serenity must have been monumental. Stone slabs of almost ancient Egyptian proportions line the easy walkways, suddenly thrusting you upon babbling brooks. A closer look through the foliage reveals the bronze sculpture of a fat and quite contented pig; then a bear exposes his enormous backside as he munches on a salmon.
Despite its grandeur and splendor, Ms. Walton not only gave the Crystal Bridges collection, its buildings and grounds, together with its enormous upkeep, to art-lovers, but she declared it "Admission-Free." Permanently! We saw seven-year old kids on a field trip with their teacher, young people with babies, families who might think twice about visiting "a museum" where the admission fee exceeded their weekly food budget.
Art and Literature cannot sprout from the dust of hunger or neglect. Young souls must be exposed to them, they must be taught. CRYSTAL BRIDGES is Ms. Alice Walton's and the participating donors' gift to imbuing future generations with the seeds of their own culture.
Now, do yourself a favor and visit the beautiful website of Crystal Bridges. You may want to schedule a trip to Bentonville.