Ain’t No Party
Like an Artinfusion party
The Artinfusion programming at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has come to be known for throwing some of the biggest, swingingest, most colorful parties in Northwest Arkansas. And the US city best known for its parties? New Orleans, of course. So what better way to send out the summer at Crystal Bridges than to host a band that melds all the best fun and flair of The Big Easy at Artinfusion’s Summer Fling?
“It is a party!” Tarriona (Tank) Ball says with a laugh of her band’s performances. Ball is the lead singer and designated poet of the New Orleans rhythmic soul/spoken word band Tank and the Bangas, blending her poetry with elements of funk, jazz, R&B and even folk. But as much fun as they have at every show, Ball says she prefers outdoor gigs because of the spirit in the air.
“The sound is always better, it seems like. There’s so much energy; you can just really grab onto somebody, and people are less afraid to [let go] and have a really good time.”
Associate museum educator Kentrell Curry echoes that sentiment, noting that getting outside the walls of the museum can give visitors a new point of view on their interactions with nature, art, music and even each other during an event that resonates with young adults.
“The environment we have created is like no other party!” Curry enthuses. Besides being among the first to interact with and explore the new piece on the north lawn, Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, Summer Fling guests can socialize, savor the offerings of food trucks and an open-air bar and take in the stylings of the 2017 NPR Tiny Desk Concert band of the year. “The entire environment of Summer Fling will be new experiences. Our programming gives us opportunities to engage with contemporary artists from all over the nation [and] Tank and the Bangas fit into Artinfusion’s mission to create unique art experiences for our members, and engage them with culturally relevant content.”
With the intent of taking listeners on a roller coaster ride of emotions during each show, Ball says her writing recognizes the things that make each person individual while building connections around experiences everyone can relate to.
“Everybody is unique. But everybody’s been to Walmart; everybody’s been hurt; everybody’s tried to ride a bike and fell off a couple times. And I love to write about those things that, not separate us, but actually connect us as people,” she shares. “To me, spoken word just has so much more of a message in it. And because it’s not confined to a beat, it takes its time giving that message. It’s more involved in the actual human experience [than rap sometimes]. That’s what I like about poetry — I connect to humans on more of an intimate level, and it takes its time doing it.”
This year’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert band of the year Tank and the Bangas headlines an evening of food, drink, entertainment, art and reveling for Crystal Bridges’ Summer Fling party.