One of the most astonishing aspects of visiting Bentonville was something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on initially but finally pinned down to noise. Not the sound of crickets crooning at night or the untroubled commotion of daily activity, but the sound of interested and involved voices in the presence of art. The galleries at Crystal Bridges, as well as the hotel’s museum, were chock-full of voices excitedly commenting on and engaging with the works in front of them. And not in a petty, kind of pedantic way, but in a curious, truly engaged manner. The bulk of these visitors were locals, or from surrounding regions, as indicated by a particular Southern lilt. A visit to these two locales will easily dispel any kind of broad assumptions you might have about Southern aesthetic preferences. This is a whole different caliber of hayseed. Most noise habitually encountered in museums and galleries can be classified as white noise at best; these galleries were positively teeming with vocalized curiosity from all ages and walks of life. It was that rare occasion when art seems to be doing its job, and it was marvelous.…Read more here.