We stayed at the Blowing Springs RV Park in Bella Vista, Arkansas, a few miles north of Bentonville. This area of northwest Arkansas, the Ozarks, is graced with green oak and hickory forests surrounding beautiful lakes. We visited the nearby Lake Ann and were impressed with the waterfall below the dam on Pinion Creek. We then hiked the two-mile Tanyard Creek Nature Trail, located a mile west of Bella Vista’s Town Center, that has a waterfall from runoff from Windsor Lake. Multiple signs explain the history of this area and pointed out many of the plants and trees. I liked the sign that identified the crown vetch, a blooming wildflower along part of the trail. From our campground, the next morning we hiked the two-mile Blowing Springs Trail. We encountered a deer on this shady loop trail.

Walton's 5-10

Walton’s 5-10

Our visit to Bentonville was particularly timely. First, the city celebrates First Fridays from April to November. A large crowd gathered to celebrate June’s First Friday “Art & Culinary” theme. This also happened to be the weekend when Walmart stock holders meet in Bentonville. The Walton Museum, located in the Walton’s original 5&10 on the Bentonville Square, was open and gave us a good introduction to this company. After dinner at a local restaurant, we listened to music by the Downtown Livewires.

Turquoise Reeds& Ozark Fiori

Neodymium Reeds on Logs

The main reason for our stop was to visit Crystal Bridges. It was most fortuitous that we happened on the opening of their “Chihuly: In the Gallery and In the Forest.” The forest component of the exhibit was similar to what I had previously seen in Columbus and Phoenix, although I especially liked “Neodymium Reeds on Logs”. The indoor exhibit, however, was much more comprehensive than anything I had previously experienced. A large wall covered with American Indian trade blankets introduced visitors to Chihuly’s early collecting and interest in cylindrical vessels inspired by Native American textiles including his weaving with fused glass. “Fire Orange Baskets” illustrate Chihuly’s continuing fascination of freeing glass from its traditional restrictions of symmetry. “Rotolo” pushes the boundaries of glass by creating long, intricate spirals of curving, clear forms rising from a central core. “Winter Brilliance” represents a window display of ice sculptures constantly transformed by changing colors. Chihuly arranged his “Calendula Persians” in a cascade formation. “Venetians” represents a variety of vases with unusual shapes, form, and texture. Combining painting and sculpture, “Glass on Glass,” displays dynamic, multidimensional paintings in color, light, and glass. Edward S. Curtis photogravures, an image produced from a photographic negative transferred to a metal plate and etched in to produce a high-quality print, were interspersed with Tabac baskets and Northwest coast Indian baskets before one exits the indoor exhibit. We enjoyed lunch at the museum’s restaurant, Eleven, while watching it rain outside. The curves of the roof structures allowed rain to naturally flow to water elements around the buildings. I was also attracted to the reflectivity of “Hanging Heart” a large hanging sculpture above our lunch table by Jeff Koons. After lunch, the rain took a break while we walked through the forest to see the outdoor Chihuly installations. My favorites include “Turquoise Reeds & Ozark Fiori,” “Neodymium Reeds on Logs,” “Belugas,” “Red Reeds,” and “Fiori Boat.” The Crystal Bridges collection itself focuses on American art. In the section documenting Native Americans I admired “The Old Arrow Maker,” an 1872 sculpture by Edmonia Lewis, daughter of a Chippewa mother and an African American father, who attended Oberlin College. We took note of Andy Warhol’s “Coca-Cola (3)” with special interest after learning about the bottling of the beverage in Vicksburg. The most unusual art work, “Untitled” by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, offered visitors an individually wrapped green candy from 50 pounds of candies spread out on the floor. Other art works that I especially liked include “Atala and Chactas” by Randolph Rogers, “Sappho” by William Wetmore Story, “Abstraction” by Georgia O’Keefe, “Untitled” by Ruth Asawa a Japanese-American who was interned in the Arkansas Rohwer War Relocation Center, “Greyhounds” by William Hunt Diederich, “Walking to Boras” by Jim Dine, “Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be – Variation #2” by Evan Penny, “Cube” by Alvin Loving, “Au Café (Synchrony): by Stanton Macdonald-Wright, and “Divinity Lotus” by Agnes Pelton. The Chihuly exhibit will be at Crustal Bridges until August 14th.