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  • Writer's pictureStevie Connor

Jewel Opens Immersive Art Experience at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art


Olivia Walton, Jewel, & Rod Bigelow
Olivia Walton, Jewel, & Rod Bigelow

Photo Credit: Shane Drummond/BFA.com



This past weekend, four-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and mental health pioneer Jewel, debuted her inaugural museum venture at the renowned Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.


The Portal: An Art Experience by Jewel explores the intersection of music, mental health, technology, and art, and is now open to the public through July 28. The star-studded opening night party featured an exclusive first look at Jewel’s original artwork now on display, a special two-song performance, an auction that raised $1.25M for the museum, and a 200-piece drone sky story choreographed to Jewel’s new meditative song, “The Portal,” which will be available later this month. You can view photos from the opening night event HERE.


The opening weekend also featured a Wellness Festival hosted by Crystal Bridges and their sister venue, the Momentary. The festival featured a variety of talks, workshops, culinary experiences, and family-friendly engagements by community partners, showcasing the profound connections between creative expression and mental health. The festival began on Thursday, May 2 with a powerful discussion on women and maternal health with Tonya Lewis Lee and Olivia Walton and closed on Sunday, May 5 with an insightful conversation about art, medicine, and well-being with Alice Walton and Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, author, and founder of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington. The festival also featured a conversation with Noah Robinson, Founder & CEO of Innerworld, a scalable solution to the global mental health crisis that Jewel co-founded last year.


Known for her three-decades long, award-winning music career and mental health advocacy work, Jewel has officially made her mark on the visual arts world with this project. The Portal offers visitors the opportunity to celebrate creativity, mindfulness, reflection and introspection. Jewel’s passion for art dates back to her childhood, predating her music career. After studying sculpture and painting in school and designing sets, her artistic journey has evolved into a holistic approach that extends to mental health advocacy, informing her creation of The Portal. Artnet called the experience “accessible immersion into art therapy” and People Magazine praised Jewel’s ethereal fashion choices for the anticipated evening, noting that she was “a work of art herself” as she “turned heads in two show-stopping dresses.”


The Portal: An Art Experience by Jewel begins with a reflective art walk through the museum’s contemporary wing, showcasing Jewel’s curated selection of ten artworks from Crystal Bridges' collection by artists including Ruth Asawa, Fred Eversley, Julie Mehretu, Mickalene Thomas, and Sam Gilliam, in addition to two original artworks by Jewel: a portrait of her son, and a striking new sculpture. A cutting-edge holographic artwork of Jewel, using Proto Hologram technology, welcomes visitors to the experience, where they will encounter wall labels, written and narrated by Jewel, that will guide them mindfully through the gallery.


Each night, for the duration of the experience, there will be a choreographed 200-piece drone light show over Crystal Bridges’ pond, flown by Nova Sky Stories. Visitors will be invited to wear headphones and listen to a conceptual, original song written and recorded by Jewel, which is available on vinyl in the museum gift shop, featuring one of Jewel’s paintings on the record sleeve. The audio-visual art experience has been designed by Jewel to create a space for reflection, connection, and transformation, and to prompt introspection, self-awareness, and well-being amongst visitors. The experience is now open to the public and is on view through July 28, 2024.


The Portal inspires Crystal Bridges visitors to explore Jewel’s concept of the Three Spheres of existence: the inner world, outer world, and the unseen world, encompassing the human experience of mind, body, and spirit. When the spheres align, happiness, harmony, and well-being can be achieved, while misaligned spheres manifest as anxiety, anger, or unrest. Jewel has meticulously crafted each aspect of the art experience to harmonize the Three Spheres, creating a dynamic space and experience where inner thoughts, external actions and hidden emotions converge.


The Portal: An Art Experience by Jewel is on view at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas through July 28, 2024. The experience runs Thursdays through Sundays most weeks. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for kids 11-18, and free for kids 10 and under. Tickets for members are $20 for adults, $12 for kids 11-18, and free for kids 10 and under. A cash bar and culinary add-ons are available. To select dates and purchase a ticket, please visit crystalbridges.org.


The Portal: An Art Experience by Jewel is sponsored by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Inc.; The Coca-Cola Company, Bluesky Imagine, Avant Mining, Mercy, Proto Hologram, Stout Executive Search, Melony Lewis, Richard Poe, Dr. George Rapier, III; Christiana Wyly Musk and Kimbal Musk, Imelda and JT Rose | Spark Rose Investments, LLC; Chuck Yates, Black Hills Energy, Annelise and Chad McWhinney, Cynthia and Forrest Miller, Jim Smith and Rebecca Hurst | Smith Hurst, PLC; Randy Reiff, and Robert S. Kaplan Foundation.


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 12.2 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 418,375 school children have experienced the museum through art kits, virtual visits, and 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.


Jewel is a 4x Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, visual artist, actress, New York Times best-selling author, and mental health pioneer. Best-known for her musical talents, Jewel’s passion and training in sculpture, drawing, and painting began before her songwriting career. Over the years, she has continued creating, working with paint and clay. In spring 2024, Jewel will make her debut in the art world at Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, Arkansas with ‘The Portal: An Art Experience by Jewel’, featuring her own painting and sculpture. Throughout her art, Jewel combines her passions for storytelling, experimentation and democratizing mental health. For the past 21 years, Jewel’s Inspiring Children Foundation and Jewel Inc. have brought specially-designed mental health programs to at-risk youth and to leading corporations. Jewel created SELLA, a language arts curriculum for schools integrating social and emotional learning and mental health practices, and recently co-founded Innerworld, an innovative virtual mental health platform. Jewel’s remarkable journey has taken her from a childhood with no running water on an Alaskan homestead to becoming a multi-platinum recording artist and mental health advocate. She has released 13 studio albums, including her latest release Freewheelin’ Woman, and will embark on a national co-headlining tour with Melissa Etheridge this summer.


Jewel

Photo Credit: Shane Drummond/BFA.com



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