by Tyler Hale
Northwest Arkansas is developing a reputation for having a world-class art scene, and that reputation rests largely on the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
With a collection of American art that spans the colonial era to the modern era, Crystal Bridges has well-known masterworks and lesser-known, but magnificent, pieces. In addition, the museum hosts year-round exhibitions and other unique experiences.
However, the museum is not resting on its laurels. Crystal Bridges is developing a new arts venue called the Momentary, which is planned to open in early 2020.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has announced Walmart is contributing $2 million to the Momentary. These funds will allow free general admission to all visitors and provide funds for innovation in multi-disciplinary programming, according to a museum press release.
Funds that go towards innovation will support projects that align with the museum’s mission of transforming lives with art. Such projects may include festivals, artist programs, exhibitions, culinary project and more.
“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,” Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges executive director and chief diversity and inclusion officer said.
According to Tom Walton of the Walton Family Foundation, the Momentary will greatly enhance the quality of life in the Northwest region of the state, and the Walton Family Foundation is supporting the project to cultivate more art and cultural opportunities. “Our commitment to cultivating arts and cultural experiences provides more opportunities for education, engagement and enjoyment in our region,” Walton says.
The Momentary is an “adaptive reuse project” that will serve as a space for visual and performing artists and be home to an artist-in-residency program. The project will transform a former Kraft Foods plant into an innovative arts venue.
Wheeler Kearns Architectsis overseeing the Momentary project, and the firm plans to maintain the building’s industrial integrity while adapting it for the museum’s needs. The expected features in the building include galleries, artist studio space, a black box theater, an amphitheater, a studio kitchen, a café and bar and indoor and outdoor gathering areas.
(Top image courtesy of Wheeler Kearns Architects: East-facing storefront of the Momentary)