So we went to Crystal Bridges. Woody kvetched a little bit. He wanted to know why we would go again if we just went. (We last went in November, and before that, June, but we have probably been there six times in 18 months, a frequency which, to a kid, may earn the distinction of "all the time.") We talked a little bit about the changing nature of exhibits, how different an experience of a museum can be from one time to the next, and how this particular art museum is one of the really cool things about Northwest Arkansas that I want us to take advantage of while we're here. Plus, a friend had just talked up a Norman Rockwell exhibit that I was excited to see.
Unfortunately, we missed Rockwell by three days, but since that was the only want-to on my personal agenda, that meant that our visit was wide open for whatever fun we could find. Boy, howdy, did we! We did two things: the art walk trail through the sculpture garden and to Compton Gardens, then the Art Studio, which is Crystal Bridges' educational/child-focused space. And we spent four fantastic hours:
Starting at the trail head, the navigator gets oriented. See what I mean about not being a little boy anymore? Increasingly, incidents and pictures of big kid things happening around here.
A thousand thanks to the Great Spirit that these two started their journey together.
Fearless forager beneath his totem tree, a mulberry.
Fox and the bears at Compton Gardens. This is his favorite of all the sculptures.
A new acquisition! A Keith Haring sculpture, "Two-Headed Figure," made in 1986.
The puppeteers at work. They attempted to rope two other families into their play, but were only marginally successful with one little 5-year-old boy.
Potholder weaving as spiritual practice. Just wait and see if I don't try this out at church...
Unexpected, but immediately appealing: the light table.
My mom bought gears like this for my sister and I when we were little. The set was one of many cool Discovery Toys that she strew about our house. She remains an expert on "cool toys." She thinks I am not serious when I say I'm excited for her to retire and move in with my family. She is reading this and being reminded that I am serious, and whenever she's ready, we'll pitch a little Airstream in the backyard just for her, with a side-car for her fabric collection.
An audio file with accompanying text talked the listener through a set of descriptive statements about a work of art in the museum's permanent collection. The listener sits with paper and pencil and quickly attempts to draw the scene they are hearing about. Woody was pleased with how well he approximated the items and their placement.
This wall was for visitors to display the art they made in the Art Studio. The chalice is my contribution--what can I say? They make good iconographs! In the tradition of evangelicals, I like leaving them places I've been. I imagine them being viewed by others with an openness of heart and a happy curiosity, which is, in its own way, a blessing of a mindset to carry into one's next encounters and experiences...
Alexander Calder. This one's just called "Mobile," like so many others of his, but I think of them as blackbirds.
The Art Studio had a small but high-quality library on nice, low shelving. One of the books we enjoyed a great deal was called Imagine, and this picture of the witch was my favorite.
On the way home, I got a little panicky and upset about gas. I forgot we were almost out, and I forgot to fill up before getting on the highway, then we pulled off at one exit with one gas station charging .45 more per gallon that the going price, then we pulled off at the next exit which was one of those sprawling upscale retail hells with dozens of big box stores and gussied-up strip malls and chain restaurants but NOTHING else around. No gas stations. Woody picked up on my angst and started parroting it, decrying price gouging and asinine (or complete lack of) urban planning. That woke me up. I dialed it back, tried to reframe our experience, found a gas station, bought a pack of M&M's, and initiated fun car games for our 15 miles drive home in standstill traffic. We made up a game together called Categories that I'll tell about another time.