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Finding Beauty and Balance in Northwest Arkansas

July 13, 2020
Allison Glenn
An art curator discovers a region committed to nature and a vibrant culture

I moved to Northwest Arkansas for the opportunity to work at Crystal Bridges, a world-class museum in a gorgeous natural setting. I’m the associate curator of contemporary art.

What a curator does, primarily, is care for the museum’s art and manage the relationships with the artists we exhibit and people in our museum community.

Discovering a Life of Balance, Beauty in Northwest Arkansas
Museum curator Allison Glenn found a balance between her professional and personal life when she moved to Bentonville, Arkansas. She discovered a tight-knit community where people look out for one another.

To be honest, I didn't anticipate all the beauty Northwest Arkansas had to offer. I was surprised by how dedicated everybody here is to helping. People are genuine and friendly and really want to get to know you. Right away, I felt like I was part of a tight-knit community.

What does community mean to me?

I believe a good community looks out for one another and is focused on creating a space that is enriching, open, caring and beneficial for all.

A community is a space where people feel free to speak their minds, to ask questions, to come together around ideas of access and equity, to think broadly about goals and how to collectively achieve them, bearing in mind everyone's individual pursuits.

A community has clearly defined goals and ways to achieve the goals. All of that exists in Northwest Arkansas.

Bentonville has everything I need in my day-to-day life. It’s hip and cosmopolitan. And even though Bentonville is a quiet town, there’s great opportunities to be in nature and, with the opening of The Momentary, residents and visitors have even more options to experience dance, music and other forms of performance.

Many of the restaurants are part of the farm-to-table movement. There’s a huge outdoors culture and a big focus on health and wellness. People bike, run, hike.

There’s incredible access to the Razorback Greenway. There’s five miles of trails running through Crystal Bridges alone. There's a trail two blocks from my apartment.

What I am excited about is how this region strives to provide a good quality of life for everyone.

I can work in a fast-paced and dynamic working environment like Crystal Bridges and balance that with a slower pace outside of work. The region offers a chance to be healthy, sit back and relax and focus.

I’ve been able to slow down in my personal life – taking time to enjoy the culture and amenities in this community – while building my curatorial career.

My hope is that in the next 10 years, Northwest Arkansas will be an even bigger destination for visual and performing arts. I'm excited for more young professionals from more diverse backgrounds to move to this part of the country.

There's so much room for growth in Northwest Arkansas. I think that growth can happen while still maintaining everything that makes the region unique and exciting.

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