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Don Bacigalupi
The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. We explore the unfolding story of America by actively collecting, exhibiting, interpreting, and preserving outstanding works that illuminate our heritage and artistic possibilities.

Opened to the public on 11-11-11, Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 by the Walton Family Foundation as a nonprofit charitable organization for all to enjoy. Philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton chairs the Museum’s board of directors. Since its opening, the Museum has welcomed more than 1.7 million visitors, and garnered 8,000+ households in its membership. Some 74,000 school children have participated in the Museum’s Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. More than 240,000 visitors a year utilize the Museum’s 3.5 miles of walking trails.

Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A series of pavilions nestled around two spring-fed ponds house galleries, meeting and classroom spaces, and a large, glass-enclosed gathering hall. Guest amenities include a restaurant on a glass-enclosed bridge overlooking the ponds, a Museum Store designed by architect Marlon Blackwell, and a library featuring more than 50,000 volumes of art reference material. Sculpture and walking trails link the Museum's 120-acre park to downtown Bentonville, Arkansas.

Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the current day. Included within the collection are iconic images such as Asher B. Durand’s Kindred Spirits, Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter, and Andy Warhol’s Coca-Cola [3]— each reflecting a distinct moment in American artistic evolution—as well as major works by modern and contemporary American artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, John Baldessari, and James Turrell. The permanent collection, which continues to grow through a strategic acquisition plan, is on view year-round and is enhanced by an array of temporary exhibitions, which were viewed by some 216,000 visitors in 2013.

Crystal Bridges provides year-round programming for all ages. In 2013, more than 300 public programs were offered, including lectures, performances, classes, and continuing education for K-12 teachers. An award-winning app, available free for both Apple and Android devices, features audio tours of current and past exhibitions, and many of the Museum’s lectures and gallery talks are available in Crystal Bridges’ iTunes U site. A new initiative to develop high-quality distance-learning opportunities for students and teachers begins this year.

Crystal Bridges also offers two research fellowship programs. The Tyson Scholars in American Art program supports full-time scholarship in the history of American art. The Reese Teacher Fellowship provides for research into the development of interdisciplinary connections between American art and core curriculum subjects of language arts, history, social studies, and the sciences.

Additional information about Crystal Bridges is available online at

Entries by Don Bacigalupi

State of the Art: The Installation Begins

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 2:01 PM

Posted by Crystal Bridge's Copy Editor Linda DeBerry

On November 11, 2013, the second anniversary of the Museum's opening, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now. As part of the initiative, Museum President Don Bacigalupi and Curator Chad Alligood traveled...

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State of the Art: Studio Rodeo

(0) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 9:49 AM

In selecting artists for State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi and Curator for Special Projects, Chad Alligood, visited nearly 1,000 artists around the country. As often as possible, they chose to conduct these visits inside the artists' studios, preferring to view...

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State of the Art: The Kindness of Strangers

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 3:05 PM

The road to State of the Art has been a long one, both literally and figuratively. Literally, Crystal Bridges President Don Bacigalupi and Curator for Special Projects Chad Alligood logged more than 100,000 miles criss-crossing the country to meet with nearly 1,000 artists. Figuratively, the exhibition began more...
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State of the Art: At Journey's End

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2014 | 9:45 PM

Crystal Bridges Assistant Curator Chad Alligood and President Don Bacigalupi have recently wrapped up their epic adventure: meeting and talking with nearly 1,000 artists all across the United States in preparation for an unprecedented exhibition called State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now. In the...

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Notes from the Road: Artists at Work

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2014 | 5:34 PM

As Chad and Don are beginning to wrap up their long months of studio visits, we've been talking with them to get a sense of the big picture in American art to distill some of the themes and trends they've been experiencing on their travels. Here's another bit from an...

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Notes From the Road: Las Vegas and Beyond

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 5:31 PM

Don Bacigalupi, President of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and Chad Alligood, Assistant Curator of Special Projects, have been traveling around the United States for the better part of the past year, visiting artists in every region of the country in preparation for the exhibition State...

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Notes From the Road: Little Rock

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2014 | 1:27 PM

On as recent trip to Little Rock, Arkansas, Crystal Bridges' curator Chad Alligood met Delita Martin, a young artist who captures and re-thinks images of African-American women in her work. Little Rock's complex and sometimes violent racial history, including the rocky desegregation of the city's schools under armed guard in...

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Notes From the Road: Phoenix

(0) Comments | Posted February 12, 2014 | 12:32 PM

In Phoenix, AZ, Chad and I visited artist Monica Aissa Martinez. Her large, richly detailed and colorful paintings begin with the anatomical structure of the human body, but manage to fold in the artist's love of the maps collected by her grandfather, her own study of yoga, her...

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Notes From the Road: Boston

(1) Comments | Posted February 4, 2014 | 3:12 PM

Boston-based artist Cobi Moules's paintings of landscapes, created from his own travels across the United States, honor the traditions of the Great American Landscape as envisioned by the Hudson River School painters while at the same time recognizing some diminishment of those landscapes brought about by modern accessibility. Moules's landscapes...

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Notes From the Road: Seattle

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2014 | 12:28 PM

In Seattle, we met up with artist Susie J. Lee, who uses materials that inform our everyday contemporary lives--digital technology and video--in innovative ways that often reference images of the historical past.

For Still Lives, her recent series of video works, Lee worked with residents of the Washington Care...

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Notes From the Road: The Pacific Northwest

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 9:02 AM

A journey to the Northwest earlier this year offered assistant curator Chad Alligood and me the opportunity to visit artists in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and surrounding areas. On one particularly intriguing visit, we meet Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace, who have worked collaboratively since meeting at the

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Notes From the Road: Texas

(0) Comments | Posted January 8, 2014 | 2:31 PM

We've now visited more than 500 artists around the U.S. as we continue building the exhibition State of the Art, which will debut at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art next September. Early on in our travels we visited Texas, meeting with artists across the state and stopping in at...

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Traveling the U.S., Discovering American Art Now

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 7:31 AM

400 artist studios in 40 cities. That's the current count of where Chad Alligood, Crystal Bridges' assistant curator for special projects, and I have traveled this summer and fall, crossing thousands of miles of this amazing country. We're off to a great start toward building an exhibition titled State of...

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Art Is Good for You. Spread the Word.

(3) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 5:34 PM

More than 28,000 schoolchildren from all around the region have toured Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, since it opened less than two years ago. Schoolchildren are able to take a field trip to the museum at no cost, thanks to a generous...

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Summer Travels & the 1 Million Visitor Milestone (VIDEO)

(3) Comments | Posted August 15, 2013 | 8:07 AM

Summer this year has provided time for travel -- being on the road connecting with colleagues, visiting artists in their studios, and getting current with all that is happening in contemporary American art. It's been an eye-popping and mind-expanding experience -- and there's more to come about what it all...

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Donald Judd's Specific Objects and the Art of Installation

(2) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 3:09 PM

Now that we're a generation or two into the so-called post-Modern era, it may be difficult to remember or recreate the circumstances in which High Modernist art reigned supreme. We live now in permissive times -- art historically speaking -- when any and all art-making approaches are potentially viable, especially...

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Women in Art: A Tale of a Revolutionary Contemporary

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 4:29 PM

Since my last post on the impact of women in American art, several recent articles have addressed the undervaluation of women's artwork in the market. A headline in The Guardian read "Women in art: why are all the 'great' artists men?" and reported statistics on suppressed auction prices...

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Celebrating Women Artists Every Day of the Year

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 2:21 PM

I've always felt that celebrating Women's History Month (or Black History Month or Hispanic Heritage Month for that matter) was unnecessarily limiting. Why relegate such celebrations to one month out of twelve when we can recognize the achievements of all the whole year through?

In my first position as a...

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Visiting With Villareal Part 2: Geometry, Nature and What's Next

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2013 | 4:53 PM

When artist Leo Villareal's Buckyball was installed last week at Crystal Bridges, Leo and I sat down to talk about what inspired the work, his use of light as a medium for art making, and what's next for this talented artist. Last week, I shared the...

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Visiting With Villareal, Part 1: A Conversation About Buckyball

(0) Comments | Posted May 3, 2013 | 10:36 AM

Buckyball made its debut this week as the first temporary sculpture installation on Crystal Bridges' trails and grounds, mesmerizing viewers with its endless color variations. Leo Villareal, the visionary artist who created the work, spent several days here while programming and preparing Buckyball for its debut....

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