Community Impact

Bentonville—one of the fastest growing cities in northwest Arkansas and the location of Wal-Mart’s headquarters—is getting a new art museum and cultural center. In May the Walton Family Foundation (created by the founder of the giant retail chain) unveiled Moshe Safdie and Associates’ design for the 100,000-square-foot Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a glass-and-wood structure sited on 100-plus acres of second-growth woodland. “We’re not building a Central Park,” says renowned landscape architect Peter Walker, who is overseeing the development of the grounds, donated by the Waltons. “Here it’s a matter of integrating uses in the existing matrix, which is a rich, thriving plant community.”

Bike paths and walking trails through the Crystal Bridges grounds, together with the contiguous 6.5-acre Compton Gardens just north of the town square, are intended to build connections between local communities. “Bentonville is like so many of these little towns that lose their vitality, but their physical form is really quite nice,” Walker says. “This is going to spur its redevelopment.”

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