New Arts Center The Momentary to Open in Arkansas in 2020

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An architectural rendering of The Momentary’s South Courtyard at nighttime. (All images courtesy Wheeler Kearns Architects.)

The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR, has announced a timeline for the development of The Momentary, a new contemporary art venue set to open in 2020. The center will be supported in part by a $2 million gift from Walton Family Foundation; Crystal Bridges was founded by Walmart heiress Alice Walton. The museum first announced its plans to transform a 63,000 square-foot former Kraft Foods plant into a multi-disciplinary arts space in 2016. Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects is overseeing the project.

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“Since Crystal Bridges opened in 2011, nearly four million visitors to the museum have experienced the power of art to transform lives,” said museum executive director Rod Bigelow. “The Momentary will add new and complementary offerings, and extend the story of contemporary art right up to the moment.”

It was previously announced last year that Lieven Bertels had been hired as executive director of the new center. “The Momentary encourages an experimental approach with the flexibility and space for artists to engage with the community and each other in meaningful and unexpected ways,” Bertels said. “By preserving the industrial integrity of the architecture, we are embracing the history of the building. We’re also exploring our unique identity.”

An architectural rendering of an artist’s studio at The Momentary.

According to the latest announcement, design and site work is complete and new construction is underway. Spaces are being transformed to include galleries, studio space for artists, a small black box theater, a kitchen, café, and rooftop bar, as well as an outdoor space for concerts, festivals, and community events. The Momentary will open to the public in early 2020, with a preview concert scheduled for the fall of 2019.

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