The Momentary: A unique contemporary art space
The Momentary, a new contemporary art space for visual, performing, and culinary arts in Bentonville, isn’t a static art museum. It’s an experience that champions contemporary art’s role in everyday life.
Occupying a decommissioned 63,000 square-foot cheese factory, the large open spaces, outdoors and in, feel alive with possibility. The new space offers the art and music of our times, with galleries for exhibitions, performance spaces, artist-in-residence studios, culinary experiences, a festival field, and more. General admission is free.
The Momentary also features a site-specific neon sculpture by artist Tavares Strachan titled You Belong Here, stretching 78 feet across and 25 feet high, on the east side of the building. “I wanted to make a work that everyone can own—one that everyone can have. . . . Because as soon as you read it, you say, ‘I belong here,’ and you do belong,” said Strachan.
A pattern titled Sway, featured on the exterior glass of the Momentary’s Tower, the main entryway, and other spaces was created by Oklahoma-based artist Addie Roanhorse. A member of the Osage Nation, Roanhorse took inspiration from Osage attire to create the pattern, paying homage to the history of the land around the Momentary. This pattern also helps filter light through the building.
Be sure to check the calendar for lots of great programming throughout the year at theMomentary.org.
Serving as a satellite to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, The Momentary was founded by the Walton family - based on the vision of Tom, Olivia and Steuart Walton, with Olivia serving as founding chairperson. The Walton Family Foundation is supporting this project as a way to enhance the quality of life in Northwest Arkansas. Its commitment to cultivating arts and cultural experiences provides more opportunities for education, engagement, and enjoyment in the region.
“Our family shares a passion for the arts and for this region of the country. The idea for this new contemporary art space came together through an ambitious vision of cultural expansion and economic opportunity for Northwest Arkansas, and of course, inspiration from Crystal Bridges and our aunt, Alice Walton,” said Olivia Walton. “By witnessing how Crystal Bridges became an arts destination, bringing tourism and new audiences, new ideas and new perspectives to Bentonville, it was clear that there was more room to expand access to the arts in Northwest Arkansas."
"The Momentary will allow people across the community, and from across the country, to engage in cultural experiences together, in a space that welcomes all to come try something new.”
-- Olivia Walton
The adaptive reuse design of the Momentary, led by Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects and lead project architect Calli Verkamp, maintains the integrity of the former cheese factory with added elements to support the new purpose of the space. The new additions use contemporary materials and construction methods to differentiate themselves from the existing building. It opened to the public on Feb. 22, 2020.