[Traveling Tales] An Inspiring Stroll Through Arkansas’ Crystal Bridges Museum

A week in the South 💜✨

I think at one point or another, we’re all either turned off from – or turned on to – different types of art; I’ve been enamored with the musical process since I was a little kid, but in first grade -after viewing ‘color by numbers’ as more of a competition to finish first than an exercise in observing the intricate nature of shapes and sizes – art (painting, drawing, sculpting and the like) simply just lost me.

A week in the South 💜✨Throw on some old Mozart and we can talk, or let’s discuss the sociocultural importance of ‘Pope Marcellus Mass‘ – but the second you’d bring a Rembrandt or a Monet anywhere in my general vicinity and my boredom would be palpable. Living in Los Angeles, there are so many different venues to enjoy the arts – and so many different forms and iterations of the artistic process, that you nearly have to go out of your way not to enjoy them.  Which, I did, for my first few years living here but I’ve learned that you’ll keep disliking the things you don’t like if you keep avoiding them, and the more I’ve jumped feet first into the deep end of the artistic process and finally, art has been making a splash everywhere I’ve looked.

A week in the South 💜✨

The Crystal Bridges Museum caused quite a stir when it was built, receiving outcries from more populous cities and snarky artsier-than-thou personalities from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago: why were historic contemporary pieces from the likes of Herring, Rockwell and Warhol being sent to the rural, deep South? Why couldn’t it be where a larger population, a more “educated” and “artistically inclined” population lives? But to me, the real question is this: why shouldn’t it be?  Why shouldn’t everyone be able to enjoy art, especially when art is for everyone!  Crystal Bridges is absolutely free to the public, proving that once and for all – no one, no matter where they live, should be deprived of art, of this beautiful process that is usually borne out of strife, out of the human need to connect and understand our emotional nature.

A week in the South 💜✨

But even between the LACMA, Getty Museum and Getty Villa, Broad Museum, Natural History Museum and Science Museum – I didn’t really get it until I went to Arkansas almost half a decade years ago. Because the art there did just what I know it will do for everyone in the town, bind them to our collective unconscious that we all tap into and remind them that someone, somewhere sees the world in the same technicolor vision that they do.

A week in the South 💜✨

Crystal Bridges is the reason I first fell in love with art, with the unexpected twists and turns of sculpted work and the obscure nature of three dimensional pieces; between the contrasting complexities of color patterns and shifts between shades of color; and it’s the reason I’m still falling in love with new artists, painters, sculptures and styles.  The brainchild of architectural mastermind Moshe Safdie, best known for his Habitat 67,  the grounds also offer a look into a Frank Lloyd Wright spectacle known as Bachman-Wilson House that had migrated from the Millstone River all the way up in New Jersey. The terrain of Crystal Bridges boasts gorgeous grounds and wonderful, winding trails that take you through the lush landscape and next to the babbling river that runs through the property.  Last, but certainly not least – if you’re hungry or in need of something tasty to sip on, get your fix at their incredible restaurant Eleven.  From signature drinks named after their collection of fantastic fine arts to the Pig Ear Nachos, I think it’s necessary to give it all a whirl -because you’re in Arkansas and you might as well enjoy yourself, damnit.  Next time I come out for work, I’m planning my trip around making it to a weekend Brunch at Crystal Bridges so I can finally see everything the grounds have to offer, strolling leisurely through the museum, soaking up beauty around each and every corner.

For more on the Crystal Bridges Museum, or as I prefer to call it – the one not-directly-Wal Mart related reason to visit Bentonville – head to their website and socials.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

For more on my trip to Arkansas, including the glorious Southern food and beautiful scenery – head to my album here!

A week in the South 💜✨

A week in the South 💜✨

A week in the South 💜✨

A week in the South 💜✨ A week in the South 💜✨

A week in the South 💜✨


Doing it Right: Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

One of the highlights of my trip to Arkansas was visiting the fabulous Crystal Bridges Museum of Art.  According to my coworkers in Arkansas, there was an uproar in the art community when the facility was built – housing works from Pollock, Lichtenstein, Warhol and Rockwell, many people from dense metropolitan areas were up in arms that a small town in the south would be graced with these wonderful collections.  I think that’s absolutely ridiculous!  I don’t think there is a single person that doesn’t appreciate art and culture within their own scope, and to think it’s appropriate to deny these works to any part of our population is insane.  Before my trip, I didn’t have a rhyme or reason to want to be in the south –  but between the hospitality and warmth of the people, the beauty of the silence and the seasons, the effing amazing food and the art and culture, I wouldn’t mind going back!

These are some of the highlights from my trip to Crystal Bridges, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Tom Uttech – Enassamishhinjijweian
Translation from Ojibwe Indian Tribe: Hope of Good Things to Come

Emma Marie Cadwalder-Guild – Free

James Henry Beard – “It’s Very Queer, Isn’t It?”

Thomas Eakins – Professor Benjamin Howard Rand

Norman Rockwell – Rosie The Riveter

Andy Warhol – Dolly Parton

Roy Lichtenstein – Standing Explosion Red

Max Ferguson – Time

Travellin’ Tales: You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Why is it that the first 24 hours of a trip seem to span a week, but by the end you’re wondering where the hell all that time went?  That’s the conundrum that I’m in right now – I flew into Fayetteville late Monday night, and here I am Thursday morning packing again to head back to California.  What a whirlwind adventure this has been….

I keep thinking back to my expectations of  coming to Arkansas – what I thought I would experience, the people assumed I would meet, what the culture here had to offer me; and I’m proud to report I’ve been blown away.  The people are beyond welcoming and my interactions here have been nothing but delightfully pleasant.  I spend most of my day surrounded by a mess of movie sleeves, price points and amarays and my job is to organize and make sense of it all. Fortunately for me, I have some kickass tunes and rad headphones to get me through the day. If a few years ago someone told my family I would be in charge of organization of this magnitude, I’m sure you would’ve gotten some hearty laughs and eye-rolls from them.  But here I am, growing up and growing into myself – and I’ve proven day in and day out that I can deliver, in a big way.

And it’s not just Disney people that I’ve gotten to know while I’m down here – there are Sales people I’ve made friends with from Lionsgate, Universal, Warner and Phase 4 media; I’ve gotten to sit in with my team and the Executive Director of 20th Century Fox while he explained what goes into forecasting day one sales for a movie.  What’s more, is that with each step he explained to my teammates I would turn the conversation around and engage him in the math and statistics of his explanation.  A lot of it is about the normalization data, relative means and distributions – I didn’t realize until I got here just how much I love numbers.  About half an hour after we left his office, he came back to the main room and in front of everyone said the following:  I spend most of my day turning the math and statistics into something a normal person could understand, thank you for coming back in here and smartening me back up.  Me? Smartening up an Exec Director?! Ah!

“I’m Gonna Wreck It!”

Work stuff aside, I’ve had a few moments here and there to enjoy and explore this adorably quaint town.  First of all, it reminds me so much of Corvallis, Oregon it’s unreal.  There are expansive properties, friendly people walking everywhere and brisk – but comfortable – weather.  The first full day I was here we went and ate at a local spot called Jimmy John’s, which is full of delish sandwiches. I got (predictably) the “Californian” and it was phenomenal.  Later that night my coworker and I stopped by a local movie theater and I finally saw ‘Wreck it Ralph‘ – if you haven’t seen it, do it now; if you didn’t like it – let me know and I’ll go ahead and delete you from my life.  Really though, I don’t understand how someone couldn’t like it! And the little Skrillex cameo at the beginning? Bonkers adorable; really though!  That night when I got back, I somehow had the energy to kick my ass at the hotel’s amazing gym; great idea to get my body on Central time!

Kobe Sushi

Wednesday was more of the same – sleeves, amarays, price points, oh my…; for lunch, the sales manager treated us to some gas station sushi.  I know it sounds sketchy, hell – when my Exec Directors back in Burbank told me about it I was hesitant to even try. I mean, sushi – in Arkansas?! Yes!  The place reminded me of a hole in the wall restaurant in Los Angeles, and was run by a very sweet family.  Apparently, if you go often enough they’ll give you a pair of chopsticks that you get to use whenever you return – absolutely genius.  Of course, when I posted the picture to Facebook one of the immediate responses I got was “GAS IS SO CHEAP THERE!”, yeah – Arkansas has that going on, too.

Last, but most certainly not least – after work was out last night, I got the opportunity to go to Crystal Bridges Museum and see some of the art and culture of the city.  First of all, holy hell – the architecture of the museum is out of this world.  So out of this world, in fact, that there’s a section of the museum currently devoted to their architect – Moshe Safdie.  He’s built other amazing structures like Habitat 67 in Montreal, which kickstarted his career, as well as the Skirball cultural center in Los Angeles, the Eleanor Roosevelt library at UCSD and the Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem. The other exhibit that I fell in love with was “See the Light” – I loved the color, contrast, illumination and shadow play.   Once I upload pictures I’ll be able to show you guys just how amazing the art was, but some other highlights of the museum were pieces by Jackson Pollock, Roy Lichtenstein and last but definitely not least – Mister Andy Warhol.

Travellin’ Tales: Yeehaw, I’m in Arkansas

Hello, hello – from Arkansas!

It’s been a busy past 24 hours, but so far it’s been such an amazing adventure and I’m loving everyone that I have the opportunity to work with out here.  What am I doing in Arkansas? Well, I currently work for Walt Disney Studios Distribution as a Retail Space Planner. The short of that being I’m part of our Movie Supply Chain; the long of it being I’m in charge of maintaining our title assortment across a few accounts (if you ever wonder why ‘Bubble Boy’, ‘Deuce Bigalo’ or ‘Cool Runnings’ is in Sam’s Club, that was partially my fault… (#sorryimnotsorry)) and I’m the head librarian for all Walt Disney titles…I even have the sexy nerd glasses to prove it!

Several times a year, Wal Mart brings all the Movie Studios together at their Headquarters for something they like to call ‘Bring It Week’.  We crowd around at vendor specific tables (Echo Bridge, Universal, Fox, etc) in a room of wires, modems and conference tables while we attempt to put the latest, greatest and best selling movies on individual fixtures.  Over the last six years, no one from my department has been part of this process – and, because of this, no one legitimately understands the process.  Well, that’s what I’m here for – for the rest of the week I’ll be helping the Disney team build and place fixtures for your consuming pleasure come March 2013.

I spent the majority of yesterday flying around the country: starting off at LAX, I flew into the ridiculously expansive Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.  The only airport that I’ve been to that might be bigger is Denver International – DFW has trams to each of the terminals, which I might’ve had a little too much fun on; but I digress (per usual).  I had my obligatory “I’m-in-Texas-and-eating-BBQ” meal from Cousins’ BBQ in the airport and then carried on my merry way to Northwest Arkansas Regional.  I have to say, short rides in prop planes are the furthest thing from my preferred mode of travel; I don’t know about y’all but I enjoy being able to stand up straight so good thing it was uneventful and quick as a bunny.


I was put up at an Embassy Suites and um, it’s a little swanky! The room is big enough that I’m lonely, so thank goodness there’s a bar downstairs.  Originally, I was hesitant about visiting Benton County because I heard some very true rumors about it being a dry (aka having no effing alcohol).  Well thank goodness for two very different things (a) I’m staying in the town next to it called Rogers and (b) five days ago, voters approved a wet Benton County; beer bongs and shot pong, anyone?

The faux Wal Mart set-up you see to your left is my playground for the next few days – I’m tearing DVDs down and building them right back up again.  It’s actually very cathartic to be so organized and I have (so far) no complaints. I’ve been mingling with the other studios, and made friends with the company that distributes South Park for syndication.

The great thing about Benton County is it was built around the culture of Wal Mart Headquarters.  There are tons of Executives always coming into town to establish, or further, their businesses – so over time, it’s become a sort of “hot spot”, if you will.  My coworkers told me about some stellar, and other not so stellar, restaurants I should get my grub on in and places I need to visit.  I got maybe more exited than I should have that my hotel is across the freeway from a mall, but even better is the Walton and Wal Mart sponsored Crystal Bridges Museum that my co-workers and I are visiting tomorrow night.  GE is co-sponsoring an exhibit called See the Light: The Luminist Tradition in American Art which is based around the evolution of light and fluorescence in American art – I can’t wait to report back on it!