Amidst the 'Oohs and Aahs' that echo throughout Arkansas' newest art museum, the phrase "Welcome to Crystal Bridges," probably outnumbers them all.
First-year visitor numbers were through the roof.
"We had projected that we would be between 200,000 and 300,000, is what we thought was a safe guess," says Niki Stewart, who works in the education and exhibitions department of Crystal Bridges.
Try more than half a million.
The museum celebrated it's first birthday sunday, and based on the bigger-than-expected-numbers, new programs and ideas are already being sculpted for its sophomore year.
"We've learned a lot this year about what the public really enjoys doing on a regular basis," Stewart says.
"So, we'll try to take that momentum and try to achieve what people are looking for in the next year," says Rod Bigelow, of the operations and administration department at Crystal Bridges.
Part of that program expansion for year No. 2 includes reaching out to specific age groups, for example for children, they plan to initiate a summer camp next summer, as well as scheduling additional preschool playdates.
"And for adults, we're going to continue lectures and films, bringing, hopefully new faces to Northwest Arkansas," Stewart says. "extended experiences for teachers who want to do professional develpoment will happen this summer as well."
Combine that with colorful new galleries and evergrowing exhibits.
And you might say the future of Crystal Bridges looks brighter than the paint on one of its portraits.
"We love to give people the opportunity to try some of these things," Stewart says.
"The first year went by in the blink of an eye, and it felt like a lifetime at the same time," Bigelow says.
And if its introductory campaign is any indication of what's to come, it seems this musuem has the potential to outlive some of its oldest paintings.
Aging just as well.