Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces construction of Whole Health Institute building on museum campus

Authored by
Amanda Hull, PhD
Sr. Director of Health and Well-Being
Published on
April 16, 2021

Bentonville, Ark. – Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announces plans for the construction of a building for the  Whole Health Institute, a non-profit created to make a transformative approach to health and wellbeing available to everyone. The facility will be located on the museum’s 120-acre grounds and include space for interactive programs welcoming participation from the community and a convening space for up to 800 people. In addition, the building will include  access to the Chopra Library and offices for both Whole Health Institute and Art Bridges.

“Crystal Bridges and Whole Health Institute are partner organizations with an aligned vision of enriching lives,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer, Crystal Bridges. “We are excited to welcome them to the neighborhood and look forward to exploring the intersection of art, nature, and wellbeing through programs, conversations, and collaborations.”

This new 75,000 square-foot, multi-use office and community space designed by Marlon Blackwell Architects will break ground in spring 2021 with an estimated completion date of 2023 on the northwest side of the museum’s additional parking lot. Architect and 2020 AIA Gold Medalist, Marlon Blackwell has been instrumental in key projects at Crystal Bridges, including designing the Museum Store and a new parking deck.

“Through the design process, we are thinking about architecture’s role in presenting a space for both well-being and health education,” said Blackwell. “There is a focus on creating a sense of place that manifests into the curvilinear forms and native stone inspired by the Ozark forest and karst topography. The openness of the building and access to the natural surroundings are also important elements and an invitation to actively explore healing in relation to art, nature, and architecture in a time when health is such an important local and global issue.”

“Earlier this year, we announced the Whole Health Institute with our mission to give everyone access to a transformative approach to health,” said Tracy Gaudet, Executive Director of the Whole Health Institute. “As our newly formed institution continues to develop, the location on Crystal Bridges’ campus and the design of this building provide an ideal setting for interactive programs that will welcome the community to take charge of their health and well-being surrounded by nature and inspiring works of art.”

Founder Alice Walton announced the creation of Whole Health Institute during the Northwest Arkansas Council’s winter meeting at Crystal Bridges in January 2020.

About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since opening in 2011, the museum has welcomed 5 million visitors, with no cost for admission. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from colonial to current day and is enhanced by temporary exhibitions. The museum is nestled on 120 acres of Ozark landscape and was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A rare Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was preserved and relocated to the museum grounds in 2015. Crystal Bridges offers public programs including lectures, performances, classes, and teacher development opportunities. Some 265,000 school children have participated in the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. Additional museum amenities include a restaurant, gift store, library, and 5 miles of art and walking trails. In February 2020, the museum opened a satellite contemporary art space in downtown Bentonville called the Momentary (507 SE E Street). For more information, visit CrystalBridges.org. The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.

Whole Health Institute

Established in 2020 and based in Bentonville, Arkansas, the Whole Health Institute and Chopra Library is a non-profit organization founded by Alice Walton to radically redesign the systems that impact health and well-being with the ultimate goal of making whole-person, person-centered care affordable and accessible to everyone. Whole Health empowers and equips people to take charge of their physical, mental and spiritual health and live a full and meaningful life. Visit wholehealth.org to learn more about the institute and browse a growing list of resources including a self-guided Health Reflection Tool and daily Mind-Body Live exercises.