In February I got an email out of the blue requesting a studio visit for Don Bacigalupi, the President of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. After a few hours of online research and a several emails with other friends in the art world, I was able to piece together what was going on: Bacigalupi was interested in assessing my work for an upcoming exhibit as part of a nationwide survey of contemporary art practice. (The scope of the tour has been featured in national media often–for example herehere, and here.) A couple of days later (most of which was spent cleaning up my studio and organizing the work I was in the middle of), Don was at my door, digital camera and voice recorders in hand. Admittedly, to my delight, our scheduled 30-minute visit turned into an hour and a half. Though I also admit my intentions were along the lines of “I’m just going to keep talking until he walks out of the studio.”

Then, he left. I couldn’t judge how it had gone. He seemed interested in my work, but then again, I figured the kind of person who devised an exhibition that required visiting a thousand studios must be the kind of person who likes that kind of thing.

Two months later, I found out that I was in. It was the exact message I had been wishing so eagerly for. The museum initially requested two works–large-scale woodcuts.  They were also interested in a facet of the socially-engaged public art I have been creating in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity-Omaha, using condemned homes as a way to collect the narratives and anecdotes of a community, as well as a way to display and exhibit those stories in their original contexts. As we spoke more about this facet of my practice, the 7.5-foot-long five-panel painting from the front porch of my first Habitat collaboration was added to the exhibit as well.

State of the Art features 102 artists from across the country selected by Crystal Bridges president Don Bacigalupi and assistant curator Chad Alligood after an ambitious 100,000-mile odyssey to meet a thousand of the most compelling contemporary artists in the United States. The 200+ works in the exhibition include photography, video, ceramics, action/interaction, glass, fiber, installation, paper, painting, and sculpture. After all of the work is full installed, the State of the Art gallery will total over 19,000 square feet extending into the permanent collection galleries as well as outdoor community areas.

There is no charge to view the exhibition, so I encourage you to make plans to visit the State of the Art exhibit at Crystal Bridges in Bentonville, Arkansas between September 13-January 19.

This is my first museum show, and I’m truly honored to be included in this exhibit. I can’t wait for the opening and I hope to see you there.



Leave a Comment
  1. Carol Ryan says:

    Congrats on a meaningful selection.
    Can’t imagine what a thrill it was to have Bacigalupi in your studio.
    Looking forward to seeing your exhibit in Sept.
    If you have time, check out my friend, Susan Morrison’s, work. She’s been featured at CB also.

  2. Mary Drakeford says:

    Congratulation. What an honor for the art community of Omaha. Hope the media gives you and Angela the press you deserve. Keep up the good work. Mary

  3. […] Nebraska: Angela Drakeford & Watie White […]

  4. Congratulations on your first museum exhibition! How exciting! Perhaps someone could put together a little bus tour there, stay at 21C, and view the “State of Art” exhibition.

  5. Karla Walden Caraway says:

    I was completely mesmerized by your work in this exhibit. It has been a tremendous inspiration to me, and I’ll definitely be back to see them again. I was about to return to woodcuts after a long absence, and now I realize I have some experimentation to do. Thank you. State of Art is a wonderful exhibit, and ultimately, your works were the highlight for me. I look forward to following your artworks.

  6. Joao says:

    The Currents exhibit was thiillrng everywhere I turned, so many intriguing installations that captivated my attention. Some were conceptually powerful, some were downright beautiful. It was a fabulous use of the space El Museo became another universe. As the program director for two of the youth videos that were shown, I was so appreciative that the organizers carved out a place in the exhibit for work by youth and then went one step further, to create a special screening of the youth videos. One of our youth filmmakers attended the special screening and enjoyed the recognition. So empowering for our youth to have their work viewed in the context of such a quality, cutting edge exhibit. Thank you.

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