Crystal Bridges To Open New Art Venue In Bentonville

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) - Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced an expansion, which will serve an art space in the market district in Bentonville.

The empty Kraft cheese factory in southeast Bentonville will serve as the new location for the facility, which has been backed by the Walton Family Foundation.

"The old Kraft Foods plant is the perfect place to take a more experimental look and a more innovative look at how artists are living and working today," said Niki Stewart, chief engagement officer for Crystal Bridges.

The 63,000 square foot building is expected to give people a glimpse of art while it is being created, Stewart said.

"We're going to take you a step back,"  Stewart said. "Maybe into when the art is still being made and give you a whole new view on what it is to be an artist that's living and working today in your life."

Shelli Kerr, planning service manager for the City of Bentonville, welcomed the new addition to what she called a thriving area near the downtown square.

"It is an investment in the goals and the policies of that plan that we put together," Kerr said. "It shows that people believe in it, and want to invest in that and want to see this actually happen."

The project could also be a major energizer for the area by attracting a new audience, according to Kerr, like Rhonda Fisher, a visitor who enjoyed seeing the community invested in the art culture. "It's really important for people to appreciate the beautiful things in life -- the finer things."

Stewart said the large empty yet-to-be-named space will feature American works of art and would incorporate local artists. She said the project has an expected opening of 2018.