Arkansas Blue Cross dedicates Kevin Kresse-designed sculpture in Springdale

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,151 views 

Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield President and CEO Curtis Barnett speaks during an event Monday (Dec. 19) to dedicate a public sculpture at the company's Northwest Arkansas corporate office in Springdale. Pictured, from left, are Martine Pollard, Arkansas Blue Cross Vice President, Northwest Arkansas; Arkansas sculptor and painter Kevin Kresse; and Stuart Gower-Jackson, director of operations for the nonprofit group Pedal it Forward NWA.

Northwest Arkansas business and civic leaders helped Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield dedicate a new public sculpture at its Springdale corporate center on Monday (Dec. 19).

Award-winning sculptor and painter Kevin Kresse of Little Rock designed the six-foot-tall bronze artwork called “The Milestone.” It depicts a girl learning to ride her bicycle with the encouragement of her parents.

Arkansas Blue Cross commissioned the work to pay homage to the region’s popular outdoor activity while representing “active families and the important milestones throughout a person’s life.”

The sculpture took two years to complete and was installed earlier this year. Arkansas Blue Cross employees began working in the 81,000-square-foot building in mid-September 2021.

“As an artist, I’m always happy to see companies using art — especially public art — to put forth an idea of what their values are,” Kresse said. “So, I was very excited, particularly as a long-time, happily satisfied customer of Arkansas Blue Cross, to be a part of this project that promotes positive relationships and healthy activities.”

Kresse is well-known in Arkansas for his public sculptures and has exhibited his work throughout the country. He also created an 8-foot-tall bronze statue of Johnny Cash that will soon become part of the National Statuary Hall Collection in Washington, D.C.

“We are honored to be home to this beautiful work of art,” said Martine Pollard, Arkansas Blue Cross’s top executive based in Northwest Arkansas. “It embodies our commitment to whole person health, focusing not just on physical well-being but also our mental and emotional well-being, and that of our families.

Also Monday, Pollard announced an Arkansas Blue Cross donation that will provide 100 bicycles and helmets to Pedal it Forward NWA, a nonprofit that provides free or low-cost bikes and helmets to people in need throughout the region.

“‘The Milestone’ is a beautiful addition to the city of Springdale, as well as our Northwest Arkansas corporate center,” Arkansas Blue Cross President and CEO Curtis Barnett said. “And we hope through the donation of these bicycles, families across the region will be able to experience their own milestones and make special memories, and perhaps develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”

Arkansas Poet Laureate Suzanne Underwood also spoke at Monday’s event and read an original poem entitled “Learning to Ride.”

Little Rock-based Arkansas Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurer, maintains its corporate headquarters in Little Rock and operates regional offices and ArkansasBlue retail stores in Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Rogers and Texarkana.