Building off their 2019 collaborative concerts entitled Portraits of America, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Jazz at Lincoln Center announce a unique creative partnership aimed to enrich the experiences of jazz and visual arts for audiences of all ages and levels of appreciation. Funded through a $1.15M gift from the Alice L. Walton Foundation, the partnership seeks to engage audiences and create connections between the visual and performing arts.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas and Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, New York share the belief that arts education is for all. With combined rich histories of producing education initiatives and live events, the organizations have together developed a range of multi-sensory experiences for audiences to dive deeper into our nation’s cultural identity through the lenses of jazz and American art. From a new music and visual art education program for grade school children, to the release of new music from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, to original multi-media content, these new programs highlight the connection between jazz, visual art, and the American experience.
“Jazz is a uniquely American art form and pairing it with masterworks of American visual art creates a sensory experience and educational opportunity for all ages,” says philanthropist Alice Walton. “I’m delighted that the Alice L. Walton Foundation can help support Wynton’s vision in pairing these art forms through bringing together Crystal Bridges and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.”
“Alice Walton’s work to keep art accessible to all is heroic. It is an honor and privilege to continue working with her and developing a partnership with Crystal Bridges,” said Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director. “Music and visual art both stand alone as inspirational, but when combined, the expressions are uniquely powerful. Jazz at Lincoln Center’s collaboration with Crystal Bridges celebrates bringing cultures together.”
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Jazz at Lincoln Center began their creative journey together in 2019 with Portraits of America: A Jazz Story. These concerts, which took place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theater in New York, NY, found the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performing original compositions that were inspired by beloved works from Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s collection.
Now, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s in-house record label, Blue Engine Records, will turn those critically acclaimed performances into an album. Additionally, Jazz at Lincoln Center is at work on a Portraits of America concert film and an original video series that brings a wide range of musicians—from New York, Arkansas, and beyond—to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to stage intimate, spontaneous performances inspired by pieces in the museum’s collection.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Jazz at Lincoln Center collaborative events launched on October 24-26, 2023, as school groups from the Northwest Arkansas area visited Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art to explore the connection between jazz and visual art. As students toured the collection spanning five centuries of American artworks from early American to the present, a lineup of musicians, curated by Jazz at Lincoln Center, performed works influenced by the collection.
About Crystal Bridges
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 more than 10.8 million visitors across its spaces, with no cost for admission. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron and philanthropist, Alice Walton. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from early American 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 300,000 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 five miles of art and walking trails. In February 2020, the museum opened the Momentary in Downtown Bentonville (507 SE E Street), conceived as a platform for the art, food, and music of our time. In 2026, Crystal Bridges will complete a nearly 100,000 square foot expansion that will allow the museum to expand access for all. For more information, visit CrystalBridges.org. The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.
About Jazz at Lincoln Center
The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center is to entertain, enrich and expand a global community for Jazz through performance, education and advocacy. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and guest artists spanning genres and generations, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of performance, education, and broadcast events each season in its home in New York City (Frederick P. Rose Hall, “The House of Swing”) and around the world, for people of all ages. Jazz at Lincoln Center is led by Chairman Clarence Otis, Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, and Executive Director Greg Scholl. Please visit us at jazz.org; follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @jazzdotorg; watch our free, global webcasts on the JazzLive app; and enjoy concerts, education programs, behind-the-scenes footage, programs and more at youtube.com/jazzatlincolncenter.
About the Alice L. Walton Foundation
Founded in 2017, the Alice L. Walton Foundation works to enhance the quality of life for individuals through providing access to offerings that improve well-being and create diverse and inclusive communities. The foundation focuses on philanthropist Alice Walton’s commitment to increasing access to the arts, improving education outcomes, enhancing health, and advancing economic opportunity for all. Through this work, the foundation strives to deliver meaningful and lasting change to individuals and communities most in need.
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For Jazz at Lincoln Center:
Zooey Tidal Jones
Senior Director, Public Relations and External Communications
For Crystal Bridges:
Senior Public Relations Director