Crystal Bridges announces plans for major expansion


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on Wednesday announced plans for its most significant expansion since the museum first opened in 2011.

The plans, projected to commence in 2022 with a goal of completion in 2024, will expand the size of current facilities by 50 percent, adding 100,000 square feet to the 200,000-square-foot-facility, the Bentonville museum announced in a release on Wednesday.

The move will allow the museum to “showcase its growing collection and welcome more visitors to experience the power of art, in an inclusive environment,” Crystal Bridges said.

Highlights of the design include:

  • Increased gallery space (by 65 percent) will allow the museum to present art with two new galleries while also adding to existing space for temporary exhibitions and offering new spaces for community displays.
  • More educational spaces and a dedicated floor with community gathering areas, art studios, maker spaces, and flexible facilities will engage creators of all ages and abilities.
  • A new bridge connecting two galleries could add non-traditional space for art that is not sensitive to light. With floor-to-ceiling views of the natural surroundings, it will offer spaces for reflection and gathering, including a new café.
  • A circular event plaza will increase opportunities for outdoor community programming and performances.

Ten years after it completed the original design for Crystal Bridges, Safdie Architects is returning for the expansion project. Before the expansion begins, a reconfigured main lobby and courtyard designed by Safdie Architects is expected to be completed in May 2021.

“It’s wonderful to see how our community, our region, and travelers to Bentonville from across the nation and around the world have embraced Crystal Bridges, and enjoyed the experience of being surrounded by art, nestled in nature, and immersed in Moshe Safdie’s architecture,” said Alice Walton, Crystal Bridges founder and board chairperson.

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