Momentary ready to take its place in regional art scene

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 1,827 views 

Bentonville arts venue the Momentary opened Feb. 22. The satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is a contemporary art space for visual, performing and culinary arts.

Bentonville arts venue the Momentary is set to open Feb. 22, and members can visit it the day before.

The 63,000-square-foot satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was founded by the Walton family and based on the vision of Tom, Olivia and Steuart Walton. Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects designed the venue on 11 acres at 507 S.E. E St. Tulsa, Okla.-based Flintco managed the construction work, transforming a former Kraft Foods cheese factory into the venue while retaining the factory’s industrial elements.

“The Momentary is a contemporary art space for visual, performing, and culinary arts,” said Lieven Bertels, director of the Momentary. “We see the Momentary serving as a gathering space for the community to relax, work, eat and drink, and discover art through programs, exhibitions, festivals and more. With our unique space and focus, we’ll be able to blur the lines between genres and art forms, and keep a finger on the pulse of what’s occurring in the art world today, with a strong focus on living artists. There’ll be something new for everyone to discover and enjoy when they visit the Momentary.”

The venue includes the 350-seat Rode House and 100-seat Fermentation Hall performing arts spaces, three artist-in-residence studios, and the 70-foot-tall Tower, with the Tower Bar gathering space at the top. It will serve coffee to higher-level members during the day and alcoholic beverages at night to the public. Other culinary options at the Momentary include the Breakroom and Onyx Coffee Lab.

Outside will be sculptures, courtyards and a 50-foot-tall canopy for outdoor music festivals, such as FreshGrass | Bentonville. Tulsa-based Howell Vancuren Landscape Architects designed the outdoor space.

The Momentary’s inaugural exhibition, State of the Art 2020, is a continuation of a 2014 exhibition started by Crystal Bridges. The new exhibition, which will also be at Crystal Bridges, will include more than 100 works of art from 61 artists across the United States, including art by Anthony Sonnenberg, visiting assistant professor of art ceramics and foundation at the University of Arkansas School of Art.

The museum’s inaugural festival of performance, TIME BEING, will take place during opening weekend. It will feature artists from across the world such as Icelandic pop supergroup FM Belfast, singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett and performer and pastry artist Kristin Worrall, who will create a live cooking show that draws on the history of the Momentary site as a former apple orchard, hunting ground and cheese factory.

The Momentary, like Crystal Bridges, will have free general admission as a result of a Walmart gift. Registration is required for a timed-ticket entry for the first weekend. Special events and performances, such as those hosted as part of TIME BEING, will require admission, but members will have access to exclusive discounts and events. The new venue will open with about 44 full-time and 10 part-time positions.