Jan 12, 2021
Written by Digital Coordinator, Mclean Morrow
Experiencing Winter in Northwest Arkansas can be full of highs and lows (temperature I mean). Recently, my husband and I had the pleasure of visiting one of Crystal Bridges’ most talked-about exhibits, North Forest Lights. We came into the experience with high expectations as we’ve seen this promoted just about everywhere you can think of. Needless to say, we were not disappointed. The rumors are true. This place is amazing.
Upon entering the outdoor exhibit we were greeted by warm and inviting staff. This was accented by the beautiful, soft, and enchanting sounds of Northwest Arkansas Nature. As we started on the tastefully well-lit path, we were informed of the guidelines to be followed along the trail so we could safely enjoy the art.
After passing through the welcome station, our journey truly began. The five featured installations come to life with light, sound, and special attributes. Below are the installations we viewed and the amazing features we encountered.
See saplings glow as they seem to communicate through shimmering lights.
The trail led us from one light display to the next, building anticipation and mystique with each step along the woodland path. Spaced 6 feet apart, we, along with several other groups, made our way through the forest, gazing in awe at each exhibit. As we progressed through the artistic visuals it felt like we were being drawn closer to nature and more in tune with the wonderland that had been created.
Take in the light and musical wavelengths of the Crystal Bridges woods.
Each installation offered even more for the senses to take in. The fog was introduced quickly. It added to the spiritual feeling we experienced throughout the whole exhibit. As we entered the Forest Frequencies display our feet were covered with fog. It reflected the dancing neon lights that moved in rhythm with mystical instrumental music.
Gather around a bonfire and enjoy the warm glow and beating heart of nature.
Although this was described as a walking exhibit we were delighted to find an opportunity to rest on hand-carved log benches and watch a 5-minute light show called The Hearth. This display was by far the most mystical. Instrumental voices and harmonious waves of natural sounds built along with what started as a “slow-burning” thicket that became gradually brighter and increasingly prominent presentation. A blend of sight and sound would be the most extensive and auditorily compelling performance of the evening.
Communicate with the whispering tree to learn about the color of your voice.
Distinct from some of the art curated by a museum, this experience was interactive. The Whispering Tree held the most mystery and magic. As we stood in line we could see a massive, lonely tree in a clearing but just beyond an overgrown, vined fence. The Tree was dotted with large orbs of light that would flash and dance with varying colors. When we reached the front of the line, we were led away from the waiting spectators to the foot of the tree and were instructed to speak to the tree. We understood then that the Tree’s lights were in response to our voices. Whether these lights were random, an algorithm, or based on the tone of our voice did not matter. It was a fascinating display.
A simulated stream brings water back to this dry creek bed.
The North Forest Lights experience concluded with the Memory of Water, which acted as the period of the novel of this exhibit. It was a cathartic ending to an evening full of wonder. The final light display was a beautifully crafted show that resonated within and truly did bring the entire night full circle.
Without a doubt, the minds and creators of Crystal Bridges have outdone themselves with their North Forest Lights exhibit. It was a transcendent and unique experience that is a rarity in today’s world and a truly memorable experience that is well worth the visit. For questions about this or any local activities, reach out to our NWA community experts.
**Photos were taken by Coldwell Banker Harris McHaney Faucette Marketing Team**