Sky Space, an interactive light show, was opened briefly in November 2010 in order for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, to get an idea of how popular the trail and Sky Space exhibit will be. The official opening of the museum is November 11, 2011.
Sky Space is an interactive art tower. The tower is circular and has a circular opening in the middle of the ceiling. A stone bench sits along the entire wall of the tower for visitors to use. The bench is heated which was a nice touch on a chilly November afternoon.
The bench is stone, and stone tile covers about 2/3 of the wall. LED lights sit behind the last row of tile. From the end of the tile and across the ceiling is white paint. Stone tile covers most of the floor. Directly under the hole in the ceiling is a circle of black sand raked into concentric circles. The entire space has a Zen feel to it.
The outside of the building is rather unimpressive. Most of the tower is set into a hill. Stairs take visitors to the top of the tower where impressive views of the trails are taken in.
Seating is limited to 26 people as there is only a single door for an entrance and exit.
Just prior to sunset, the LED lights begin to wash the upper part of the wall and the entire ceiling. This is where the Sky Space becomes a unique experience. As the light entering through the opening in the ceiling changes, the LED lights change color. An optical illusion occurs and the ceiling opening changes color. The sky opening appears to change from blue to green to pink to yellow depending on the wall color. Colors are vivid and bright, not the normal colors seen at sunset. You can stand in the center of the sand circle for a slightly different experience.
I was impressed with the Sky Space. It is a place for quiet contemplation and meditation. Young children will not appreciate the space and most of the kids sitting in the Sky Space became fidgety and bored within a few minutes. There is no room for strollers or wagons inside the Sky Space.
Crystal Bridges Trail
Currently there is no parking available at Crystal Bridges Museum due to construction. Visitors to the trail can park in Compton Gardens and walk about 1/4 mile to the entrance to the Crystal Bridges Trail. The trails are paved. Dogs are permitted, cyclists are welcome. Skateboards and horses are not allowed.
I walked the short trail, it will be much longer once the museum officially opens and all construction is completed. An intermittent stream follows the trail on one side. The Sky Space and hills border the other side. Three bronze statues reside along this part of the trail. The first one is easy to pass by, especially with the leaves off of the trees. The statue is a bronze tree, it is discernible from the other trees as there is a bicycle hidden amongst the branches. It reminds me of the hidden picture puzzles that kids like to solve. The second statue is called “Shore Lunch”. This is a bear eating a salmon. Stone steps allow walkers to get closer to the stream and view the statue from all sides. A short walk down the trail brings you to a large bronze pig. The pig is happily hanging out in a grassy area. Just after the pig, the trail ends at the construction site to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has a temporary home in Bentonville Square. Look for free programs and events at Crystal Bridges at the Massey, formerly the Eagle Hotel, located on N.W. A Street and Central Avenue.
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