Lieven Bertels will be in charge of the space, which is called the Momentary.


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Crystal Bridges Details Plans for New Arts Venue in Former Kraft Foods Plant, Hires Director

A rendering of the courtyard of the Momentary.


Nearly six years after its opening, in 2011, by Wal-Mart heiress and ARTnews Top 200 collector Alice Walton, the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas, has finalized plans for its first satellite space. That arts venue will be called the Momentary, and it will be located in a 63,000-square-foot former Kraft Foods cheese plant some one-and-a-half miles south of the Crystal Bridges Museum. Site work is currently slated to start in late 2018, with an official opening expected for early 2020. (The opening of the satellite site had previously been scheduled for 2018, and then, after a delay, 2019.)

The Chicago-based firm Wheeler Kearns Architects is tasked with the design for the Momentary, which is intended as a space for the visual and performing arts, and for housing the museum’s artist-in-residency program. A previously announced series of site-specific installations will be made for the museum and the satellite’s grounds. “We’re definitely in a growth mode, and I think we’ll develop an innovative interplay between these projects and those in the new industrial facility,” Lauren Haynes, a curator at the museum, told ARTnews in a profile of Crystal Bridges earlier this year.

To lead the Momentary, Crystal Bridges has hired Lieven Bertels, a Belgian musicologist who was previously the CEO and cultural director of the Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018 European Capital of Culture, an arts festival in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. He has also held positions at the Sydney Festival, the International Society of the Performing Arts, and the Concertgebouw. Bertels is expected to begin his new position as director of the Momentary in September.

“The Momentary is poised to be an international destination that demonstrates how contemporary American art and artists intersect with daily life around the globe,” Bertels said in a statement. “The Momentary will push boundaries of creativity, blur urban and rural lines, and provide access to arts-based experiences in a comfortable and well-designed social space. This is a truly exciting project not just for the region but for arts communities at large.”

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