21c Museum Hotel in downtown Bentonville opened its doors Monday (Feb. 11) after a year and half of construction.
Founder Steve Wilson says building the museum hotel has been an incredible journey.
“Then it was a gravel lot and it began growing out of the ground and here we are in the room that I look at on paper,” said Wilson.
21c Museum Hotel adds a different style culturally to the fabric of Bentonville.
’21c’ stands for contemporary art of the 21st century. Wilson says his inspiration to build in Bentonville was Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
“The beauty is Crystal Bridges really led the way in bringing art to the local community,” 21c Museum Hotel General Manager, Emmanuel Gardinier.
Art museums have made impacts on communities across the world, according to Wilson. He wanted Bentonville to be affected, as well.
“My wife and I, as art collectors, were inspired by the Guggenheim Museum that was built in Bilbao, Spain, not only for the collection but the effect that the architecture had on the community,” said Wilson.
The hotel is complete with 12,000 square feet of multiple contemporary art galleries, The Hive restaurant and 104 luxury rooms.
The museum will rotate the art collection creating a different look throughout the year.
“We are a true museum of contemporary art first, which means our collection will change about twice a year, the whole collection will change,” said Gardinier.
Local and international art is displayed throughout the entire museum and hotel with unique and humorous pieces of work.
“That artist is saying what happens if eventually we come to a point in our history where animals and people live together and we use animals as nanny’s or as caretakers for our children,” said Wilson as he described a sculpture in the lobby by an Australian artist.
The galleries are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and free to the public.
21c hotels are located in three different cities, Cincinnati, Bentonville and its first Museum Hotel in downtown Louisville, Kentucky which opened in 2006.