I wanted to post some of the pictures I took today with a little Canon powershot at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art media tour. They're not fancy, but they'll give you some idea of progress at the museum site at Bentonville.
Alice Walton has bankrolled the construction of these several buildings, which cover seven acres. Some 200 to 300 workers are on site, depending on what's happening, and three huge cranes, one 225 feet tall, are set about the site. The structure alone is astonishing, never mind the many millions of dollars worth of fine art that will go inside. (And yes, to answer the commenter on the Arkansas Blog, it would have been an incredible boon to Arkansas had the legislature not exempted the museum acquisitions from the state sales tax.)
Look at the images here and give me your best guess when the museum will be complete. No one was saying today, though director Don Bacigalupi said they were still shooting for late 2011, early 2012. My guess? Late 2012.
Above is a view of one of the gallery building on the western side of the complex. Pools of water separate it from the buildings on the east side. This shot was taken from what will be the library on the third floor of a building just south of the entrance and across the water. The concrete bridge piers shown here will act as weirs to control the water levels in the pools.
Two museums on the eastern side of the CB ponds will hold the earliest art; a counterclockwise trip through the galleries will progress through time. The galleries are connected by bridges; Bacigalupi joked that the one shown here between the galleries is the "bridge to the 19th century," to use what he called a "Clintonian metaphor." The structures shown on the right at the entry lobby and library/admininstration/temporary gallery building to the right.
The first photo above was shot from the third floor (not yet glassed in) of this library/administration building on the east side south of the first galleries. The library is on that floor; temporary exhibits of contemporary art will be on the first; offices on second.The library will hold "the world's largest collection of color plate books," Bacigalupi said, and 50,000 volumes on American art. Librarian Catherine Petersen is now on board.
Not shown is the gift shop, being designed by UA architecture chair Marlon Blackwell.
More to come tomorrow.