Crystal Bridges adds pair of speakers and two new focused exhibits to this fall’s events calendar

Amy Sherald / The Bathers, 2015 / Collection of Pamela and William Royall, Jr. / Courtesy Sherald and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

You may not recognize the name Amy Sherald. At least not yet. But her profile is rising in the art world, in part because of her official portrait of former first lady Michelle Obama, which was unveiled in February of this year. That work can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. It’s been so popular they moved the painting to accommodate the crowds.

Several of Sherald’s other works can be viewed at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville as part of a new exhibit. The collection comes to the museum via Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, where it was organized. Simply titled “Amy Sherald,” the works can be viewed through the end of the year.

Distinguished Lectures at Crystal Bridges

Who: Amy Sherald, portrait artist
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 7
Admission: Free, although tickets are required; contact guest services at 657-2335 or

Who: Jeffrey Seller, Broadway producer
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 20
Admission: $15 general public; $12 members; $5 students via

Sherald is known for her portraiture of African Americans and the storytelling contained within the works. She will appear at Crystal Bridges twice in support of events at the museum and to tell her own story. She gives a Distinguished Speakers lecture at 7 p.m. Friday and returns Sept. 20 for a Gallery Conversation.

Her appearances are highlights of several events and speakers announced late last week by the museum. Also coming to Bentonville will be Jeffrey Seller, lead producer of the smash Broadway hit “Hamilton.” Seller, who has also worked with hits such as “Rent” and “Avenue Q,” will chat with KUAF host Kyle Kellams about what makes a hit and his efforts to make musical theater accessible to the masses.

Sherald’s discussion is free, although tickets are required. Tickets to the event with Seller are $15 for the general public, $12 for museum members and $5 for students.

Also announced is a second new focused collection of works. Like the portraits by Sherald, the collection “In Conversation: Will Wilson and Edward Curtis” is on display now. The collection contains photographs from the two artists and discusses how Native Americans have been portrayed in photographs. The works are free to view and will be on display through February.