Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art held a press event on Thursday to provide an update on the timeline and vision for the Momentary, a new contemporary arts venue slated to open in early 2020. Additionally, Walmart announced that it will provide a $2 million gift toward access and innovation at the multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts space.
“Since Crystal Bridges opened in 2011, nearly four million visitors to the museum have experienced the power of art to transform lives. The Momentary will add new and complementary offerings, and extend the story of contemporary art right up to the moment,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer. “We are grateful to Walmart for their support to help bring artists, innovators, and the community together and to further position Northwest Arkansas as a unique arts and cultural destination.”
Access will come in the form of free general admission to all visitors. In addition, funds for innovation will go toward initiatives that align with the mission through festivals, major exhibitions, artist programs, culinary offerings, and more.
At the event, Tom and Olivia Walton, Walton Family Foundation, spoke about the foundation’s commitment to the project. “Just like Crystal Bridges, the Momentary began with a vision—bringing together the art and music of our times, blurring the boundaries between visual and performing arts, and offering it in a place that feels comfortable and accommodating,” said Olivia Walton.
In 2016, Crystal Bridges announced plans to transform a 63,000 square-foot Kraft Foods plant into a multi-disciplinary space for visual, performing, and culinary arts, as well as an artist residency program. Wheeler Kearns Architects, based in Chicago, is overseeing the adaptive re-use project. Design and site work is now complete, with the new construction phase underway. Spaces are being transformed to include galleries, studio space for artists, a small black box theater, kitchen, café, rooftop bar, and flexible indoor gathering areas as well as an outdoor space for concerts, festivals, and community events. A video preview of the construction progress is available here.
“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,” said Lieven Bertels, director of the Momentary. “By preserving the industrial integrity of the architecture, we are embracing the history of the building. We’re also exploring our unique identity. Since, the mission of the Momentary is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life, our logo is based on the type of signage found in a factory setting and present all around us, while the iconic arrows in the logo come together to form the M in our name,” Bertels adds.
Another way the Momentary is embracing the past and moving it into the future is through the work of a regional artist, Addie Roanhorse, a graphic designer, mixed media artist, and resident of the Osage Nation reservation in Eastern Oklahoma. Roanhorse has created design elements for the building that are inspired by traditional Osage attire and pay homage to the history of the land around the Momentary. The patterns are printed into the building’s entryway, loading dock, and elevator tower glass, and play a functional role in filtering light.
“I have great admiration and respect for Crystal Bridges and the Momentary and I am honored to have this opportunity to acknowledge my ancestral territory with a visual representation of Osage culture,” said Roanhorse. “Inspired by traditional finger weave patterns, the designs woven in the past are identical patterns my generation continues to weave today.”
The Momentary will open to the public in early 2020, with a preview concert in the fall of 2019. More information and season announcements will be coming soon. Newly announced social media handles and links for the Momentary include: