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The Momentary Names a New Director

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Crystal Bridges and the Momentary today announced the appointment of Jill Wagar as director of the Momentary, following an extensive national search. With a bold vision for the future, Wagar is poised to lead the Momentary – an extension of Crystal Bridges conceived as a platform for music, art, and food of our time – into an exciting new chapter.

“As we look ahead to the future of the Momentary, I believe Jill is the right choice to lead us into this next stage of growth and success,” said Tom Walton, chair of the Momentary Council. “Jill has been with us since the beginning, and she has an incredible track record of innovation, operational excellence, and delivering results for our community. Under her leadership, I know the Momentary is poised to become the best version of itself.”

Wagar, who joined Crystal Bridges before its public opening in 2011, will also serve as senior director of Crystal Bridges. She’ll work closely with Executive Director and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Rod Bigelow providing institutional leadership, ensuring execution of the strategic plan, and engaging donors across both locations.

Wagar comes to the Momentary having served as deputy director of Crystal Bridges, overseeing the strategic planning process, contributed revenue streams, data strategy, collaborations with key partners, and master plan implementation strategy. For the past several months, she has also served as interim director of the Momentary as the space hosted several major cultural events, including FORMAT Festival and Live on the Green. As director, Wagar will work to advance similar creative projects. She’s charged with driving attendance and enhancing community engagement across the institution through consistent access to inspiring music, art, and social experiences.

After announcing plans for a remodel in early 2023, the newly transformed Momentary will officially launch to the public on November 18 with a free party featuring an array of activities inviting community members to experience all the Momentary has to offer – artist talks, DJ sets, and dance parties, as well as a new gift shop, refurbished lobby, and updated Onyx Coffee Lab. The campus-wide exhibition, Enduring Amazon: Life and Afterlife in the Rainforestwill also open to the public on November 18.

“We are delighted to appoint Jill to help lead the Momentary into the future,” said Rod Bigelow, executive director and chief diversity and inclusion for Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. “She has developed and executed the museum’s strategic plan brilliantly, including during the turbulent period of the pandemic. Jill is committed to implementing new leadership models, cross-functional collaboration, inclusion and access, and team building at our organization.”

“It is an incredible honor to lead the Momentary, a space that continues to explore ways to connect communities with exciting and engaging music, art, and food,” said Wagar. “I am deeply committed to building on the foundation of innovation and creativity the Walton family and our dedicated team have established to maximize the Momentary’s potential.”

Jill Wagar began her tenure with Crystal Bridges as director of development – her leadership was instrumental in opening the museum in 2011 and establishing the framework for receiving private gift support and annual museum memberships. In her long history with the museum, she has also served as deputy director, chief strategy officer, and director of advancement.

Prior to working at Crystal Bridges, Wagar held leadership positions in higher education and healthcare. She was the associate vice president for development and communications at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas. Additionally, she served as the director of public affairs and development for The Children’s Center in Bethany, Oklahoma, a hospital for medically fragile children. A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, she holds a degree in marketing and public relations from Oklahoma State University, and she holds the Certified Fundraising Executive accreditation. She has been recognized by the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Association of Fundraising Executives as an Outstanding Fundraiser and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal named her in the 2008 class of 40 Under 40 and as an outstanding Woman in Business in 2023.


About Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The mission of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit in a setting that unites the power of art with the beauty of nature. Since opening in 2011, the museum has welcomed more than 10.8 million visitors across its spaces, with no cost for admission. Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 as a non-profit charitable organization by arts patron and philanthropist, Alice Walton. The collection spans five centuries of American masterworks from early American to current day and is enhanced by temporary exhibitions. The museum is nestled on 120 acres of Ozark landscape and was designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie. A rare Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house was preserved and relocated to the museum grounds in 2015. Crystal Bridges offers public programsincluding lectures, performances, classes, and teacher development opportunities. Some 300,000 school children have participated in the Willard and Pat Walker School Visit program, which provides educational experiences for school groups at no cost to the schools. Additional museum amenities include a restaurant, gift store, library, and five miles of art and walking trails. In February 2020, the museum opened the Momentary in Downtown Bentonville (507 SE E Street), conceived as a platform for the art, food, and music of our time. In 2026, Crystal Bridges will complete a nearly 100,000 square foot expansion that will allow the museum to expand access for all. For more information, visit The museum is located at 600 Museum Way, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712.

About the Momentary

Opened in February of 2020 in Downtown Bentonville, the Momentary is conceived as a platform for the art, food, and music of our time. It is a catalyst for creativity and economic vitality, and a welcoming hub that gathers and celebrates local heroes and international stars. The Momentary was founded by the Walton family, based on the vision of Tom, Olivia, and Steuart Walton. 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 our region. The Momentary is an extension of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, founded by Alice Walton. The Momentary welcomes all with free general admission. Additional offerings include live music, an artist-in-residence program, culinary experiences such as Onyx Coffee Lab and the sky-high Tower Bar, indoor and outdoor gathering spaces, an outdoor festival space, and a retail shop. For more information, visit The Momentary is located at 507 SE E Street, Bentonville, Arkansas 72712. The Momentary’s Founding Funders are Walton Family Foundation, Walmart, RØDE Microphones, The Coca-Cola Company, Tyson Family Foundation, and Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation.