21c Bentonville has 12,000 square feet of exhibition space featuring contemporary art exhibitions that are open 24/7 and always free to the public. We are thrilled to welcome a new contemporary art space, the Momentary, to downtown Bentonville later this month. Much like 21c, the mission of the Momentary is to champion contemporary art’s role in everyday life. We chatted with Emily Neuman, Public Relations Manager at the Momentary, to learn more about how the Momentary came to be.
SEEING THE NEED
Earlier this year, the Northwest Arkansas Council reported that the region’s growth increased 18.6 percent since the 2010 Census, with Bentonville leading the four largest cities of the region. With growing companies and the announcement of Walmart’s new home office, it is anticipated that more and more people from around the country will be calling Northwest Arkansas their home in the decades to come, particularly millennials, the largest generation in the US workforce.
Millennials, as a generation, have been identified as experiential consumers, people that want to spend their time on experiences, rather than things. They take a very broad view of arts and culture, a view that includes music venues, great food, outdoor experiences, and unique places to hang out: in sum, the Momentary.
The Momentary will continue Northwest Arkansas’s cultural journey through art, music, and food that unites the hobbies and interests of community members from various backgrounds and experiences. The artists and performers featured at the Momentary will also reflect the diverse complexity of the community and the nation.
There are several contemporary art spaces around the world that are easy to admire. One of the big inspirations for the Momentary is MoMA PS1 in New York. An affiliate of the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1 is an exhibition space that displays contemporary art, music, and performance programming. MASS MoCA, located in North Adams, Massachusetts, is another inspirational contemporary space that was converted from a factory into a museum, similar to the Momentary’s adaptive reuse project.
Positioning the Momentary in downtown Bentonville offers the opportunity for people across the community to convene in a central location that is accessible by the Razorback Regional Greenway. It also allows folks the opportunity to engage in cultural experiences together in a space that is welcome to anyone with curiosity and a thirst for new experience.
A SATELLITE TO CRYSTAL BRIDGES
Just as MoMA has an affiliation with MoMA PS1, the Momentary, similarly, is a satellite of Crystal Bridges. Contemporary art will be featured at both locations, such as will be the case during State of the Art 2020, but with its unique space and focus, the Momentary will be able to push boundaries and keep their fingers on the pulse of new trends and voices in the art world today.
Inspired by their aunt Alice Walton and the trail she blazed in founding Crystal Bridges, Olivia, Tom, and Steuart recognized that Crystal Bridges helped open doorways for exploration of the arts in the region. “The Momentary would never exist if it wasn’t for Crystal Bridges,” said Olivia Walton.
Since its opening in 2011, Crystal Bridges has welcomed over 4.5 million people through its doors from all over the world and from all walks of life to experience the power of art and the beauty of nature in a natural setting. By witnessing how Crystal Bridges became a cultural arts destination bringing tourism and new audiences to Bentonville, it was clear that there was room for growth, experimentation, and new opportunities to expand arts access in Northwest Arkansas.
Following in the footsteps of Crystal Bridges, the Momentary will also offer free general admission, courtesy of Walmart, and will strive to be as accessible as possible to allow all to enjoy the space and programs. Both locations are connected by a 1.5 mile-long stretch across the Razorback Regional Greenway.
LIVING IN THE MOMENT
The Momentary’s first moment is approaching fast. When it opens on February 22, 2020 with its opening festival, TIME BEING, and its first exhibition, State of the Art 2020, it will offer communal spaces for guests to work, play, and engage in discussion, including open gallery areas, theater and concert spaces, a black box theater, an Onyx Coffee Lab, outdoor seating and a festival stage on the Momentary Green, and a Tower Bar overlooking Bentonville.
21c Bentonville is just blocks away from the Momentary making it the perfect home base for your next visit.