Following an international executive search process led by Arts Consulting Group (ACG), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art has selected Lieven Bertels as Director of the Momentary, an innovative arts venue under development in Bentonville, Arkansas. Supported by the Walton Family Foundation, the venue is an adaptive reuse project that will transform a decommissioned Kraft Foods plant into a multi-disciplinary space for visual and performing arts and an artist-in-residency program. Mr. Bertels will begin his tenure in late September 2017, with a goal of opening the facility in early 2020.
A Belgian musicologist, Mr. Bertels hails from Amsterdam, where he was CEO and Cultural Director of Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018 European Capital of Culture, a year-long arts festival in the Netherlands focusing on the arts in a rural context. He has also held positions at the Sydney Festival, Concertgebouw Brugge, and the Holland Festival. The Sydney Festival in Australia garnered acclaim for its diverse artistic offerings and enjoyed wide public support through his leadership as Festival Director. For seven years Mr. Bertels served as Artistic Coordinator at the Holland Festival, The Netherlands’ oldest and largest arts festival. He has also held the position of inaugural Artistic Director for Concertgebouw in Bruges, Belgium, where he was responsible for overseeing the planning, grand opening, and programming for the first three years of the new campus. From 2010 to 2016 he served on the board of directors of the International Society for the Performing Arts in New York and in 2013 was made Knight in the Belgian Order of the Crown. Mr. Bertels holds a bachelor of arts in arts history and archaeology, a master of arts in musicology, and a post-graduate certificate in education from the University of Leuven, as well as a master of arts in composition from the University of Durham.
In making the announcement, Crystal Bridges Executive Director & Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Rod Bigelow said, “We are thrilled to welcome Lieven to Northwest Arkansas. Along with international arts experience and a history of successful leadership, he brings a strong background in performance art and fresh ideas about ways to expand the cultural impact of the arts in our region and beyond. His work in Leeuwarden, at Sydney Festival, and in Bruges demonstrates his ability to advance projects that are culturally transformative.”
“I’m looking forward to connecting the Momentary to the mission and welcoming spirit of Crystal Bridges,” said Mr. Bertels. “The Momentary is poised to be an international destination that demonstrates how contemporary American art and artists intersect with daily life around the globe. The Momentary will push boundaries of creativity, blur urban and rural lines, and provide access to arts-based experiences in a comfortable and well-designed social space. This is a truly exciting project not just for the region but for arts communities at large.”
“Congratulations to the Lieven Bertels on his new role as Director of the Momentary,” said ACG President Dr. Bruce D. Thibodeau. “ACG was pleased to work closely with Crystal Bridges in a rigorous international search that resulted in such a high-caliber candidate as Mr. Bertels for this unique position. We are confident that his dedication and leadership will bring innovative and exciting performing and visual arts programs and audiences to Northwest Arkansas for years to come.”
Photo Credit: Prudence Upton