Bentonville, Arkansas may not ring a bell for most people, but this weekend the town hosted a major, new music, art and technology festival: FORMAT. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Bentonville is the home of Walmart and, over the past ten years, the Walton family has done their utmost to invest in the rapidly growing region, from paving mountain biking trails to setting up Crystal Bridges, a world-class art museum. Why not bring a music, arts, and tech festival to town?
In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a rare, original print of the US Constitution (one of only eleven known in the world) is going on view at Crystal Bridges in We the People: The Radical Notion of Democracy. In this free exhibition, the document is displayed in conversation with works of art by influential historical and contemporary artists that provide diverse American perspectives on the nation’s founding principles.
Olivia Walton is also enthusiastic about Northwest Arkansas’ place in the national arts conversation.
“I think we’re on the map; I think Bentonville is up there with Marfa,” she said, referencing the small west Texas town that’s known as an arts hub. “Whenever I’m on the coasts, people know of Crystal Bridges, and they respect what Alice is doing. They admire the collection, and I think we’re on the shortlist for top art destinations in the country.
Northwest Arkansas’ creative economy is getting a boost through the Momentary’s Courtyard Sessions concert series following a year of venue closings and programming restrictions because of the covid-19 pandemic, coordinators say. The series began June 27 and features free, live music by Northwest Arkansas artists from 4:30-7 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 26 in the Momentary’s Arvest Bank Courtyard, said Pia Agrawal, curator of performing arts.