Crystal Bridges aims for diversity with first bilingual exhibit, symposium on cultural identity

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 195 views 

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville will display its first fully bilingual exhibit, Border Cantos: Sight & Sound Explorations from the Mexican-American Border, from Feb. 18 to April 24.

Presented in English and Spanish, the temporary exhibit  features works from American photographer Richard Misrach and Mexican-American sculptor and composer, Guillermo Galindo, and looks at “complex issues surrounding the United States-Mexico border,” according to the museum.

It is an example of Crystal Bridges’ efforts to expand diversity within its offerings and also among its museum’s visitors, according to a news release.

The museum has also formed a Border Cantos Advisory Committee comprised of area Hispanic leaders to help guide the museum in developing supplemental programs and events that can reach the Latino community in schools, churches and other community-based organizations, according to the press release.

The museum has reached out to Latin Americans in the area previously with such programs as the Multicultural Festival and El Día de los Niños, and Hispanic attendance rates at Crystal Bridges increased from 30% in 2012 to 62% in 2015, according to the release, citing a Walton Family Foundation study.

Crystal Bridges also plans to tackle diversity through programs related to a recently acquired work from Jamaican-born artist Nari Ward called We The People (2015), a wall sculpture measuring 8 feet by 27 feet and made of dyed shoelaces, depicting the first three words of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution.

Access and inclusive accommodations include verbal descriptions, in addition to tactile or multisensory tours upon request for visitors who are blind or have low vision, and museum educators are given disability awareness training with organizations like Art Beyond Sight.

For visitors who are deaf or have hearing loss, the museum provides assistive listening devices upon request. The Distinguished Speaker Series includes American Sign Language interpretation. ASL interpretation is available for monthly guided tours and upon request for lectures, programs, films or tours with two weeks’ notice.

In a further effort to reach out to new audiences, the museum offers free transportation to the museum, according to the press release.

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