Crystal Bridges reveals 2022 exhibit schedule and announces return of North Forest Lights

The new traveling exhibit “The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse” explores the intersection between music and visual arts. Among the works included in the exhibit is El Franco Lee II’s “DJ Screw in Heaven 2.” El Franco Lee II (American, born 1979) “DJ Screw in Heaven 2,” 2016. Acrylic on black canvas with cassette tape

Courtesy of the artist Image: © El Franco Lee II

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville has often pushed at the fringes of art, exploring topics that don’t often receive main gallery billing, as was the case with the recent exhibit “Crafting in America,” a celebration of American makers.

Plans announced Wednesday show the museum exploring two other fields for the first time – fashion and architecture.

Museum officials announced the 2022 exhibition schedule for the museum, which will feature three temporary exhibits, and also confirmed the return of the North Forest Lights for a third season. The announcements follow a gradual reopening of the museum, which closed to the public for several months during the COVID-19 outbreak. It reopened in June 2020, and then announced a revised schedule of exhibitions in July and has since amended those plans. For instance, a Diego Rivera exhibit was moved from summer 2021 to spring 2023. In the meantime, a series of smaller-scale focused exhibits are also slated for the museum. A full exhibition calendar can be found on Crystal Bridges’ website.

2022 Crystal Bridges exhibits

North Forest LightsSept. 1, 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022

“The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse”March 12 to July 25, 2022

“Architecture at Home”May 7 to Nov. 7, 2022

“Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour”Sept. 10, 2022 to Jan. 30, 2023

Info: Call 479-418-5700 or

The exhibits announced Wednesday build out the calendar from mid-March 2022 until late-January 2023.

“The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture, and the Sonic Impulse’ opens on March 12, 2022, and runs through July 25, 2022. According to Crystal Bridges’ press release, it “explores the relationship between music and visual art in Black southern expression from 1920-2020, highlighting a narrative of persistence and power.”

Musical artists featured in the exhibit via their sounds or personal effects include Bo Diddley and Sun Ra. Visual artists include Kerry James Marshall and Elizabeth Catlett. “The Dirty South” is currently on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which organized the collection.

Following will be “Architecture at Home,” on display from May 7 to November 7. In addition to being Crystal Bridges’ first architecture-focused exhibit, it’s also unique in that it will take place outside the museum walls. The exhibit runs along the Orchard Trail on the museum grounds. Five firms – Studio SUMO, LEVENBETTS, MUTUO, PPAA (Perez Palacios Arquitectos Asociados) and studio:indigenous – were each tasked with creating a 500-square-foot prototypes for contemporary housing.

According to the museum, the firms are led by architects from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, and each surveyed the needs, challenges and opportunities of the Northwest Arkansas community to develop their prototypes.

Teri Greeves is one of the many artists captured in Crystal Bridges’ first foray into fashion art. “Fashioning America” debuts at the museum in September 2022. Teri Greeves “Abstraction: Kiowa by Design,” 2014. Beads on canvas high-heeled sneakers, 11 1/2 x 10 x 4 in. each.

Courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photo: Stephen Lang.

The third of the three exhibits explores fashion via video, imagery and approximately 90 garments and accessories spanning two centuries. “Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour,” brought together by guest curator Michelle Tolini Finamore, can be viewed from Sept. 10, 2022, to Jan. 30, 2023.

“Fashioning America” showcases everything from bathing suits to Zoot suits and tells a story that presents American fashion “as a powerful emblem of global visual culture, amplified by movies, television, red carpets and social media.”

Additionally, Crystal Bridges announced the return of the North Forest Lights, the popular light and sound displays that take over the museum’s north forest area. The nighttime experience has drawn nearly 200,000 guests in the past two years to see the displays and take in the food and drink offerings at the exhibit’s central village.

Upon reopening in June, Crystal Bridges required timed (but free) tickets for general admission entry to limit building capacity. Those timed tickets are no longer required. Traveling and temporary exhibits typically require a scheduled, ticketed entry, but details on pricing and availability were not part of Wednesday’s announcement.

This article is sponsored by First Security Bank. For more great stories of Arkansas food, travel, sports, music and more, visit