TCC Art-Travel Weekend Meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, Was a Great Success

Participants enjoying unusally warm March weather in Bentonville, Arkansas
Paul Clites and Linda Bell welcome guests at the TCC hospitality desk.

The weekend of March 23-25 saw the Arkansas, St. Louis, Kansas City and Texas/Oklahoma TCC chapters convene in a unique location to share travel experiences, enjoy gourmet food and drink, and explore the world of great art. While we’re accustomed to making discoveries on distant continents, nearly 50 TCC members discovered … Bentonville, Arkansas! Charles Merkel coordinated a multistate regional meeting and hosted members from Malibu to NYC and plenty of places in between. Everyone who attended the event was impressed with the little town Sam Walton built, and the Crystal Bridges Museum in particular. When not touring the museum’s wide-ranging collection of American art and architectural highlights, participants enjoyed presentations covering South America, West Africa, the Caucasus and Papua New Guinea. All agreed that the multistate gathering was well worth it and eagerly anticipate further opportunities to gather with like-minded travelers.

The Star of the Art-Travel Weekend

TCC members greatly enjoyed the remarkable architecture and collections of the Crystal Bridges Museum, together with the excellent dinner and brunch at the “Eleven” restaurant, and the informative and welcoming tours offered by the museum’s staff and docents. Outside highlights included the giant Louise Bourgeois “Maman” spider sculpture, the Fly’s Eye Dome by Buckminster Fuller, and the fascinating Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Bachman-Wilson House. It was transferred in 2015 from its original location in New Jersey to a beautiful hillside site where it receives careful ongoing conservation treatment. The collections on display inside range from early American portraits, and Rauschenberg and Pollock. Our group was especially fascinated by the juxtaposition of a fine early Peale portrait of George Washington with a very recent high-definition video piece by Susie UJ. Lee, in which “Johnny ” from the Fracking Fields series eerily seems to follow the viewer’s gaze – and this shows the huge range of American art that the museum has collected. It is a wonderful (and free) cultural resource that is clearly already much appreciated by local residents and visitors alike.

Faces in the Crowd at the Art-Travel Weekend

Jagannathan Srinivasaraghavan, Indianapolis Chapter
As a young man, “Dr. Van or Van” (as he is affectionately known) took advantage of his father’s position with Indian Railroads to travel the length and breadth of India. Beginning his globetrotting traveling to Singapore and Malaysia, “Van” eventually immigrated to the United States in 1977, and in 1980 completed a four-year residency from a hospital affiliated with the Chicago Medical School. “Dr. Van” is a forensic psychiatrist, and professor emeritus of Psychiatry at SIU school of Medicine in Southern Illinois and is an active member of many professional organizations presenting lectures all over the world. “Dr. Van” is one of the most experienced travelers in the world, visiting 321 of 325 places on the TCC list, and 782 of the 875 places on the or MTP Web site map. “Dr. Van” and his wife Kanchana live in Carbondale, Illinois.

Hongyu Yang, Washington, D.C. Chapter
Hongyu was born in China and now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. She works as senior education economist for an international organization. Childhood dreams of journeys within China helper her develop a lifelong passion for world travel. Her career path has given her many opportunities to satisfy this passion. Hongyu joined the Travelers’ Century Club in November 2010 and has visited 317 out of the 327 countries and territories on the TCC list. She particularly enjoys adventure travel. She has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya, camped out at the South Pole, and flown to the North Pole by helicopter. Most recently she has been to Mogadishu, Somalia, and took a cruise to Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan de Cunha. Who knows where her grownup dreams will take her next?

Aaron and Sandie Lubin, Little Rock Chapter
Reading the book I Married Adventure: The Lives and Adventures of Martin and Osa Johnson in high school inspired Sandie Lubin to look outside of her world. It recounts the adventures of a husband-and-wife team who spent more than 20 years on explorations and photography safaris in Africa and the South Seas. Little did Sandie know then that she would marry an adventuresome man and they would have the chance to explore the world together. Aaron and Sandie Lubin have traveled together for 29 years. They love to visit friends they have hosted through foreign exchange programs. “When leaving, our guests say, Come see us!” Sandie said. “We tell them, “Don’t invite us unless you mean it, we will come!”


George Walther, Colorado Chapter
George Walther supplements his adventure travels (123 on the TCC list) with periods of living abroad. For the last decade, he has moved to a new country/continent each year and lived in each one for 12 months. He finds that being a resident, even for only a year, is waaaay different from just passing through. He’s written many business books, and his next literary adventure will be to capture the lessons he’s learned from his multicultural exposures. Although nearly 70, he prefers to stay in youth hostels and hitchhikes to meet locals. He begins each journey with the expectation that something wonderful is going to happen, and it always does.