Ain’t No Party

Like an Art­in­fu­sion party

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BENTONVILLE - JO­CE­LYN MURPHY

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.”

COUR­TESY PHOTO

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.

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