October 7, 2014

Inspired by the launch of State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now, the inaugural Summit at Crystal Bridges convened a cross-section of more than 200 leaders in the arts, education, business and philanthropy to explore Insights from a Changing America. The Summit delved into the themes and ideas raised in the exhibition, illustrating the nature of a country in the midst of transformative demographic, technological, environmental, and cultural changes. This powerful and provocative gathering connected participants with the most meaningful trends and themes at the intersection of American art and life. 

Summit Videos

America: State of The Art Address

Spotlight: Art Everywhere

This summer Art Everywhere created the largest public display of art in history by featuring 58 American masterworks on 50,000 outdoor billboards, bus shelters, and other sites across all 50 states. Founder Richard Reed discusses Art Everywhere’s origins, significance and how it evolved into a global phenomenon.

Spotlight: Decentralizing Art-Making in America

As demonstrated by the State of the Art exhibition, American contemporary art is being created throughout the country, in every kind of setting, by every kind of artist—and for every community. What are the benefits for artists and audiences in this thriving regional art expansion? What does it mean for the way we think about today’s art and the traditions of American art history?


Spotlight: The Citizen Artist

Sculptor and performer Vanessa German speaks on the power of art at the intersection of tenderness, wonder, street violence and trauma. Mining her sculptural work through performance, German speaks to the creative process and her work as a citizen artist.


Spotlight: Art and Environment

Art has been a compelling and powerful advocate for social and political change. Contemporary artists are creatively confronting some of the most pressing issues facing our communities, our country and the world. Maya Lin is such an artist. Her recent and on-going project, What is Missing, focuses on raising awareness about species and habitat loss.  She will discuss how her work as an artist intersects with her concerns about the environment.


Art in the Digital Age

Digital technology now touches almost every aspect of our lives. With “everything” online, art is more available to more people than ever before. How do artists adapt and leverage the new tools and information at their disposal? How does the digital age benefit and expand art audiences? Will this new age impact what is considered enduring art?


Art & Education in the 21st Century

As education strategy adapts to accommodate the current and future needs of a population and a workforce, a variety of initiatives emphasize learning 21st-century skills. Many of these ideas embrace art’s integration into curricula, helping to build critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and other key skills. Is the American education system effectively creating innovative thinkers? How can the arts enhance these aspects of education and what is the role of museums in facilitating the process?


Bella Gaia

A poetic vision of Earth from space, BELLA GAIA (Beautiful Earth) is a live audiovisual experience that combines NASA satellite imagery of Earth, time-lapse nature photography, and cultural heritage footage with live performances. Inspired by astronauts who speak of the life-changing power of seeing Earth from space, BELLA GAIA explores the relationship between art and science, humans and nature, through time and space

Performed by Kenji Williams,
Founder & Director, BELLA GAIA
With voices of the Bentonville High School Chamber Choir

Museums of the Future

What strategies will be employed by successful museums of the future, given advances in technology, the public’s thirst for constant change, and America’s shifting demographics? What current innovations and ideas in museums and other industry sectors foreshadow future museum trends?


Panel: Insights From a Changing America

Insights from a Changing America The convergence of new technology, accessible information and rapidly changing consumer tastes has resulted in an unprecedented rate of cultural change. We experience the change in communities across America and in today’s conversations, trends and artistic expressions. What are the driving forces of a changing America? Which meaningful trends and themes are redefining American art and its role in American life? What happens next?



Panel: Personal Stories Inspiration to Creation

Five State of the Art artists share their stories of the many ways in which their lives inspire and influence their work, their involvement in their communities, and the distinctive decision-making that underpins their respective practices.