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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Announces Staff Hires to Support New Contemporary Art Space, the Momentary

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary announce the appointment of Neal Johnson, digital media director; Emily Neuman, public relations manager; and Erin Anson Ellis, production manager as they look towards the opening of the Momentary in early 2020.

The Momentary, a satellite to Crystal Bridges, is a new contemporary art space that champions art’s role in everyday lives. It will offer adaptable spaces to explore today’s visual, performing, and culinary arts through dynamic programming, as well as areas to relax, work, or play. The venue will include galleries, theater and concert spaces, a festival stage, a café and Tower Bar, indoor and outdoor common areas, and dedicated studio spaces for artists in residence.

The 63,000 square-foot adaptive reuse project is under development, set to open in early 2020 with a community preview event being planned for this fall. The Momentary invites visitors to get closer to the action with intimate performance spaces, accessibility to artists, and free general admission for all.

“I am thrilled to see our team strengthen and grow with the development of the Momentary,” said Rod Bigelow, Crystal Bridges executive director and chief diversity & inclusion officer. “The Momentary is the next chapter in the arts and culture story for Northwest Arkansas, and it’s important to have a fully dedicated team as well as support from staff already in place. Our goal is to integrate our teams and resources to create complementary, positive experiences for visitors of Crystal Bridges and the Momentary.”

Neal Johnson, digital media director, Crystal Bridges, joined the team in late June 2019 to lead the museum’s digital media team, overseeing  development, implementation, and management of the museum’s digital communications tools, including websites for Crystal Bridges and the Momentary, as well as digital engagement elements including apps, audio guides, in-gallery interactives, signage, and more. Johnson brings over 25 years of museum digital experience, most recently from the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Johnson is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in Film Production and a Master of Library and Information Science.

Emily Neuman, public relations manager, the Momentary, joined the team in May 2019 to serve as a key member of the Momentary team and extension of the Crystal Bridges’ communications team, working to expand awareness of the Momentary and its offerings. Native to Kansas City and previous resident of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Neuman returns to Northwest Arkansas from Louisville, Kentucky, where she served as brand marketing manager for the award-winning contemporary art museum, boutique hotel, and restaurant group, 21c Museum Hotels. Neuman graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Arkansas, and holds a Master of Science in Communications from Purdue University.

Erin Anson Ellis, production manager, the Momentary, will join the performing arts team – Pia Kishore Agrawal, curator, performing arts; Cynthia Post Hunt, programmer, theater/dance; and Stuart Rogers, programmer, festivals/music – in July 2019, to support the production of performing arts projects, including concerts and performances, residencies, commissions, workshops, audio and video recordings, and publications. Ellis is coming to the Momentary team from Little Rock, Arkansas, where she served as the general manager for Ballet Arkansas. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“The Momentary will be a dynamic and welcoming place for artists and the community,” said Lieven Bertels, director of the Momentary. “We have the benefit of support from an established, world-class museum, while being able to grow a new Momentary team who bring fresh ideas and experiences to both entities. I’m excited to welcome Neal, Emily, and Erin and look forward to all the ways they will help communicate the Momentary offerings, provide digital innovation, and quality productions.”

Photo of Neal Johnson and Emily Neuman by Dero Sanford. Photo of Erin Anson Ellis by Jeff Smithwick Photography, provided courtesy of Ballet Arkansas.