Bentonville Abuzz

Bentonville Abuzz

21c welcomes guests back as reopenings continue


The hotel side of Bentonville’s 21c Museum Hotel has reopened, along with its signature restaurant and one of Bentonville’s favorite dining experiences, The Hive. The Bentonville location of the Kentucky-based boutique museum/hotel chain was among the first of its nine locations to open on July 1 — along with the venues in Nashville, Tenn., Kansas City, Mo., and the flagship location in Louisville, Ky.

The museum side is not yet open to the public and will only be accessible for guests of the hotel and The Hive — which is only open for dinner service so far. The enhanced operational safety measures and procedures implemented for the hotel’s phased reopening “are among the most stringent in the hospitality industry,” Emmanuel Gardinier, general manager of 21c Bentonville, revealed in a press release.

The hotel and restaurant have utilized measures that are becoming commonplace as businesses begin reopening to the public, like physical distancing markers, screenings for all guests and employees, required mask use and increased frequency of disinfecting surfaces, among other measures. But to maximize efficacy of the precautions and ensure patrons’ highest levels of safety, the press release also outlined the team of expert advisers consulted to establish the new standards for all 21c properties: Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification; Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security & fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, Ph.D., CFS, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, for Ecolab, global leaders in cleaning and hygiene, and trusted advisers to the CDC.

The Bentonville location continues to monitor the situation in Northwest Arkansas and will adjust accordingly in deciding a time to safely reopen the museum to the public. Hotel and restaurant guests — who are also encouraged to schedule reservations as capacity in The Hive will be restricted — can still enjoy the current exhibition, “Refuge,” on display through at least September. During a recent conversation with Museum Director and Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites, she assured that 21c will continue initiating ways to connect artists and art lovers during the closures, and even beyond. After our conversation on the museum’s Artist Check-In series, she followed up with some thoughts on the state of the art world at the moment and what guests should look forward to as we all try to navigate maintaining creativity during a pandemic:

“I have missed everything about being in the kitchen and cannot wait to see our team, farmers and guests,” says Matthew McClure, executive chef at the Bentonville location’s signature restaurant The Hive. “We are jumping straight in to summer and all of the beautiful ingredients that make the heat seem more bearable like peaches, tomatoes and summer squash. This season will be about showcasing these incredible ingredients, supporting my team in the kitchen, and bringing the community back to our restaurant safely.” The restaurant opened for dinner service on July 1, with brunch availability to follow at a later date.
(Courtesy Photo/21c Museum Hotels)

Q. What do artists need right now?

A. While the Artist Check-In responses have not yet referenced material or financial needs, many, if not most, artists are experiencing significant loss of income. Several prominent grantmaking organizations, including Creative Capital, United States Artists, Artadia, and others have banded together to create the Artist Relief Fund, which has raised several million dollars to support artists in need.

Q. How is art changing?

A. Artists who are early adapters of technological or digital tools will find a broader and more engaged audience, as viewers can experience their work remotely. Video, animation and especially AR (augmented reality) — that is made by and for a screen-based experience — will continue to expand the possibilities for what art can be and can do. AR works, which can also be accessed on mobile devices, have the potential to be both experiential and immersive, and can create meaningful virtual experiences.

Q. What are some ways in which 21c is adapting programming that will continue after reopenings?

A. We are creating audio tours that can be accessed via personal devices, as well as virtual tours, such as one of the current exhibition in Cincinnati, “Dress Up, Speak Up: Regalia and Resistance.” Featuring works by artists such as Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Ebony G. Patterson, Jeffrey Gibson, Titus Kaphar and others, this exhibit is one that is especially relevant right now as we reckon with the legacy of racism and discrimination, so I am very glad we can make this virtual tour accessible to the public.

The films, videos and artist interviews that are featured on the Art Channel in all 21c guest rooms will also be accessible on public-facing channels, such as YouTube. (Visit the 21c Museum Hotels channel on YouTube.)



21c Museum Hotel & The Hive Reopenings

WHEN — The Bentonville location of 21c reopened its hotel side and restaurant The Hive, for dinner service only, on July 1. The museum is accessible only to hotel and restaurant guests at present.

WHERE — 200 N.E. A Street in Bentonville

INFO — 286-6500,

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