Courtesy Photo: For the month of June, a group of snails, an “escargatoire,” will appear in trees and on rooftops surrounding the Bentonville Square.

21c Museum Hotel, opening the first quarter of 2013, will present an outdoor contemporary art installation of animalistic proportions in conjunction with Downtown Bentonville Inc.’s 2012 ArtsFest. For the month of June, a group of snails, an “escargatoire,” will appear in trees and on rooftops surrounding the Bentonville Square.

Supporting 21c’s mission of sharing new art with new audiences through programming both in the museum and beyond the gallery walls, this pop-up exhibition is emblematic of the type of interactive contemporary art experience that people can expect once the hotel and museum are open at the corner of NE A and Blake Streets.

Alice Gray Stites, Chief Curator and Director of Art Programming for 21c Museum Hotels notes, “21c Museum Hotel seeks to integrate contemporary art into everyday life through innovative programming.

We are thrilled to be coming to a community with a great appreciation for the arts, and look forward to adding to the vibrant cultural resources of Northwest Arkansas.”

The Pink Snails were created by the art collective Cracking Art, also responsible for 21c Museum Hotels’ iconic penguins. Driven by a mission to raise environmental awareness, Cracking Art makes each animal from recycled plastic found in landfills, and their work explores intersections between natural and artificial life.

The snail, explains Cracking Art founder Renzo Nucara, carries its shelter on its back, thus addressing where and how we live; the snail moves slowly through the world, reminding us to slow down, to pause and reflect; the spiral of the snail shell resembles an ear, which may, “remind people to listen;” and the spiral design recalls the @ symbol associated with email (in Italy, the @ symbol is called a snail), referencing digital communication.

The name “cracking art” refers to the chemical reaction that occurs when converting raw crude oil into plastic, or the moment when natural becomes artificial. Founded in 1993, Cracking Art has created over 600 exhibitions worldwide.


About 21c Museum Hotel


21c Museum Hotel Bentonville, opening in 2013, is a combination boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant modeled after the award-winning 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, Ky. Building on its mission of engaging the public with contemporary art and supporting the revitalization of American downtowns, the main focal point of 21c Bentonville will be 12,000 square feet of museum, meeting and event space. The museum will exhibit the work of living artists and be open free of charge to the public.

An outdoor sculpture garden will complement the interior museum galleries. These spaces serve as a key link in the emerging arts promenade that connects downtown Bentonville to the brand new Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Architect Deborah Berke’s design integrates extensive natural lighting throughout the 100,000-square-foot property, which will also feature a 125-seat restaurant, spacious ballroom and state-of-the-art meeting and board rooms as well as outdoor spaces for private functions. The hotel will incorporate 104 guest rooms — including a one-bedroom 21c Suite with a terrace — that embrace the founders’ ethos of “living with art.” For more information visit


Categories: Galleries