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“My husband Tom [Walton], brother-in-law Steuart [Walton], and I spent a lot of time talking about the difference between a traditional museum and what we wanted the Momentary to be,” explains Olivia Walton, chairperson of Bentonville’s newest arts space. “We said that if a traditional museum puts something on a pedestal in a vault, and is built around a permanent collection, we wanted to do something new.” They ultimately chose to eschew the traditional museum model and instead focus on programming and events, offering visitors a timely, new experience every time.

To realize their vision, a 63,000-square-foot former Kraft plant was transformed by the Waltons and Wheeler Kearns Architects into a flexible, retro-futuristic industrial arts space that can accommodate everything from traditional visual art exhibitions to avant-garde performances to food festivals. Preserving the original character of the building was a priority to the Waltons. “We wanted to keep as much as possible,” Olivia says, “chipping paint, old pipes, uneven floors.”

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