Take It Outside

Take It Outside

Crystal Bridges continues music in the North Forest

NWA Democrat-Gazette

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is determined to make the most of its 120 gorgeous, park-like acres. Take its Forest Concert Series, for example: Presented in the museum’s North Forest, these musical celebrations invite concertgoers to bring their lawn chairs, blankets and dancing shoes to enjoy a wide variety of musical genres in the open-air venue.

“I’m finding that some of the programs that I enjoy seeing pulled off wonderfully are multigenerational,” says Janelle Redlaczyk, Crystal Bridges public programs manager. “We see people of all ages at these concerts — high schoolers, older people, families with kids. I think we’ve just hit a real sweet spot, and it’s making Crystal Bridges a real community gathering space.”

Redlaczyk says the concerts are well attended, with the Beatles tribute band “The Liverpool Legends” on July 14 bringing in the biggest crowd so far.

“We have a great programmer, Sara Segerlin, the manager of adult programs — she is just really hooked in to musicians,” says Redlaczyk. “We have local and regional acts, but we also have acts coming from all over the country and out of the country. She looks at all kinds of diversity and types of music. Pretty much whatever we can think of, we’re tossing out there. [We’re] looking for the best groups we can find here in the region and catching great groups when they’re in the area — or bringing them straight to Crystal Bridges. It’s going to be different every time you’re here, and that keeps it fresh.”

Two concerts remain in the summer series: On Saturday, Dana Louise and the reggae group The Irie Lions will perform, while Aug. 11 will find Jamie Lou and Friends, as well as Dog Days of Summer featuring 1 oz. Jig, closing out the series. The fall series will kick off on Sept. 8 with Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings and The Bergamot. In addition to live music, Crystal Bridges provides art projects and craft instruction for the younger set while the music wafts through the forest.

“Tie-dying and painting and chalk drawings: We sometimes try to tie them into the type of music going on,” explains Redlaczyk. “But mainly, we try to find engaging activities. Families are our biggest customers for our activities, but we’re also surprised to see older adults sitting down at our activities.”

Some seats are provided by the museum, but, depending on the size of the crowd, it’s usually a good idea to bring your own lawn chair or blanket . And, notes Redlaczyk, the museum also provides some areas for hammocks.

“There’s also a lovely lawn by the sculpture garden, and sometimes people bring their blankets there,” says Redlaczyk. “You can still hear the music playing through the whole sculpture area. With the kids blowing bubbles and doing chalk drawings [there], it’s a lovely way to spend a Saturday evening.”

The area is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs, says Redlaczyk and, if needed, museum staff can shuttle concertgoers to the North Lawn. Food is available from the museum’s food truck, High South on a Roll, and there is a cash bar.


Forest Concert Series

WHEN — 7-10 p.m. selected Saturdays in August, September and October

WHERE — Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville

COST — $10; free for members & children

INFO — 657-2335

Categories: Music