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The Momentary Announces Performers for 2020


The moment is nearly here. The Momentary has announced several of the performance artists, musical acts and art events that will take to one of the venue’s many stages and performance spaces during its opening weekend and the months to follow. The Momentary officially opens February 22 in Bentonville in what was an abandoned cheese factory. The contemporary art space, which is a sister project for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, has been under construction for several years and will take over the 63,000-square-foot factory space and surrounding grounds and feature contemporary art galleries and performance spaces.

Some of the visual arts elements that will debut when the Momentary opens were unveiled during an on-site preview in October The visual arts elements will include the return of “State of the Art,” which first came to Crystal Bridges in 2014. It returns to that museum, and simultaneously to the Momentary, with “State of the Art 2020,” which features the same cross-country examination of contemporary art in America. “State of the Art 2020” debuts when the Momentary opens.

But the performance and musical artists promised for the opening weekend festival, called “Time Being,” had yet to be announced. Among those included in today’s announcement were folk-pop songwriter Courtney Barnett, Icelandic dance rockers FM Belfast and performance artists such as Kristin Worrall, a pastry chef/artist who will put on a live cooking show/performance piece.

Kristen Worrall / Photo by Seymour Templer

The “Time Being” festival takes place over three days. The first day, Feb. 21, is reserved for Momentary members. The second day repeats many of the same acts for the general public on Feb. 22. A third day, Feb. 23, offers another chance to catch artists.

Pia Agrawal, curator of performing arts for the Momentary, said the lineup for the opening weekend is in many ways reflective of the kind of programming to come.

“We wanted to show people a bit of the vision behind the Momentary,” said Agrawal in a recent phone interview.

That means bringing in a blend of performers that are well known and some that are less so.

“We’re encouraging people to take a chance on something new,” Agrawal said.

One of the keys of the Momentary’s philosophy, Agrawal said, is matching a performer to the available space. Staff members communicate with the incoming acts to determine the best configuration of seating and viewing opportunities. Many of the spaces have flexible seating arrangements, such as the RØDE House, which can accommodate between 375 and 600 guests, depending on the need. Other spaces allow for more intimacy, such as the Fermentation Hall, with a cap of about 140 patrons. The largest available space, the outdoor main lawn, will comfortably fit 4,000 to 5,000.

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Kevin Kinder writes about music, art, theater, and more for the Fayetteville Flyer. When he's not checking out live music, he enjoys running, and cheering for the Kansas City Royals.

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