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Diverse artists, contemporary works brought to light in 'State of the Art' premiering nationally April 26 on PBS

Posted 09 Apr 2019

After an exhilarating journey of artistic discovery - covering more than 100,000 miles and 1,000 destinations - 100 under-recognized American artists were selected for one unforgettable exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. "State of the Art," a one-hour documentary premiering nationally Friday, April 26, at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST on PBS, captures the personal stories of seven of these diverse artists who are redefining the American aesthetic.

From award-winning Arkansas filmmakers Craig and Brent Renaud and Arkansas Educational Television Network, "State of the Art" tells a story of diverse artists driven to create - with work that is intensely personal, firmly rooted in community and inseparable from the lives they live. Their work offers a window into not only what concerns Americans, but also what lifts them up.

"Extraordinary art is being created in communities all around this country, and what excited us most was the opportunity to tell in-depth, personal stories about artists living off the beaten path - artists who might not yet be coronated by the art world on the coasts, but whom are engaged in some of the most exciting work we have even seen," Craig Renaud said.

The curatorial team of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art crisscrossed the nation to find extraordinary contemporary art happening in unexpected places: the woods of North Carolina, the deserts of Nevada, the backstreets of Pittsburgh, the foothills of Arkansas and the riverbanks of New Orleans. These far-flung artists, and many more, led to the exhibition "State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now," which showcased 227 works, many of which might otherwise have never been seen.

"Art has always reflected the place and time in which it's made, and artists engage deeply with issues relevant to their communities and culture," Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said. "As a young museum, recently opened in the middle of the country, we felt we had a unique opportunity to showcase today's artists creating the art of our times."

"State of the Art" captures the personal stories of seven diverse artists:

Funding for "State of the Art" was provided in part by the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Inc. Additional film resources, including a trailer, photos, bios and more, are available at

The Renaud Brothers ( have spent the last two decades telling human-centered verité stories from around the world. They have covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, the political turmoil in Egypt, and the drug wars in Mexico and Central America. Their most recent feature film, "Shelter," told the inspiring stories of homeless youth living in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Renaud Brothers have won dozens of major awards, including a Peabody in 2016 for their Chicago-based series "Last Chance High." Craig lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with his family, and Brent is a 2019 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network is Arkansas's only statewide public media network, which enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers through the distinct channels AETN PBS, AETN Create, AETN PBS KIDS, AETN World and AETN AIRS on SAP. Audiences can also watch on several digital platforms, and members with AETN Passport have extended on-demand access to a rich library of public television programming. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. Additional information is available at AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro) and KETZ (El Dorado).

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