Select Traveler

SEP-OCT 2013

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by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie, Crystal Bridges melds outstanding American art in its galleries with equally impressive outdoor art on its grounds. Crystal Bridges saw its millionth visitor this August, which is remarkable considering that the museum opened in November 2011. It houses instantly recognizable pieces by artists like Gilbert Stuart, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keefe, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. Tey have at least two by my favorite American artist, Winslow Homer. On this trip, I found myself most captivated by Maxfeld Parrish's "Te Lantern Bearers," an oil painting done in 1908 that frst appeared in Collier's magazine in December 1910. "Alice's vision was that the springs and forest outside should be integral to the design of the museum," spokeswoman Dianne Carroll said. "She settled on Moshe Safdie for that reason. He felt he could take the setting and come up with an interpretation of that idea. Tere are four miles of trails here with art and sculpture. Te museum is indoor-outdoor interactive." Great art begets great hotels apparently, because 21c Museum Hotels, the boutique hotel company that has pioneered the marriage of art, fne dining and hospitality, opened a property in Bentonville this year. John Lamparski, group tour sales manager for the Bentonville Convention and Visitors Bureau, took us there that evening. Within walking distance of Crystal Bridges, 21c will cater to hundreds of business travelers who meet with Wal-Mart each year but will also see its share of groups as well. Clayton Whitehead, a partner in Sports Leisure Tours in California, told me afterward that his clients would want to overnight in the hotel when they go to Bentonville. "CNN did a story about seven artsy hotels in the world that you have to see, and the 21c here made the list," said Lamparski. "Even if a group isn't staying here, they're going to want to see it." I met a couple in the bar who moved there because he works for a major consumer goods company that does business with Wal-Mart. Tey said they liked the city a lot and recomMax´Čüeld Parrish's famous painting "The Lantern Bearers" is now part of the Crystal Bridges collection. Courtesy Crystal Bridges

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