I don't usually post photo essays here, but tonight I have to make an exception, as a "Thank You" note to Walmart. Now, don't get me wrong. I do not -- and have never -- liked Walmart's business practices. Their treatment of employees and suppliers is sometimes shameful. But once in a while, they do something wonderful. And this is one of those times.
Walmart recently gave a sizeable donation to a charity for which I am the incoming president. We were also able to arrange to hold our quarterly meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, and to tour the new Crystal Bridges Art Museum there. It is a mammouth undertaking, financed wholey or in large part, by Walmart. Much of the art comes from the Walton Family's personal collection. And currently there is no admission charge.
The museum is a free-form structure, full of glass and natural wood, suspended over crystal clear pools of water. This photo was taken from outside and above the main structure. The galleries are four stories below.
My husband and I spent most of Friday wandering through the exhibits, drinking in the natural setting that is visible through out the museum, eating amazing food in the museum restaurant, and gasping at some of the originals that hang casually here within easy access. Even the rules were generous and welcoming: Sure, take pictures of our art; just don't use a flash. And please don't touch the actual paintings; stay 18" away.
So here are some of the scenes. Enjoy.
This metal (aluminum? stainless steel?) tree greets visitors at the door.
A flat, but three-dimensional room made entirely of wood. ( A tromp de wood?)
Two views of the same sculpture along one of the walking trails outside. Both pictures were taken from glass hallways between galleries.
The pure simplicity of the galleries allows amazing privacy -- a chance to study the paintings unbothered by other patrons.
Meet the original Rosie the Riveter.
Or the original Pinocchio.
Or stumble upon a scene like this. The spot is a hallway where the windows have been shaded, allowing the sunlight outside to reflect off the water surrounding the passageway and paint its own portrait on the translucent wall. That's a real person, by the way, taking the same picture I was trying to get.
If you ever find yourself in northwest Arkansas, this is a spot not to be missed. It has the potential to develop into one of our country's finest museums.