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BENTONVILLE -- Visit Bentonville is looking to help turn up the music scene as well as add aviation to its list of interests to promote next year.

Visit Bentonville recently added aviation to the list of areas it's identified to help increase tourism in the city. Aviation joins arts, cycling, culinary, music and film.


Those who presented at Thursday’s Advertising and Promotion Commission meeting included:

• Arts: Diane Carroll, Cystral Bridges Museum of American Art director of communications

• Cycling: Gary Vernon, program officer at Walton Family Foundation

• Culinary: Matt McClure, executive chef at The Hive

• Music: Lieven Bertels, The Momentary director

• Film: Kallan Karen, producer with Kickstart Entertainment

• Aviation: Chad Cox, Runway Group

Source: Staff Report

A leader in each area spoke to the Advertising and Promotions Commission during its annual planning meeting Thursday. The four-hour meeting was held at The Holler.

Airport officials and the Airport Advisory Board created a vision about five years ago for the airport to be "the home away from home for people who fly and a city amenity for those don't fly," said Chad Cox with Runway Group.

Cox talked about development at the municipal airport -- the grass runway, hangar development on the runway's west side and the new Thaden Fieldhouse.

The fieldhouse is expected to open in September. It will include a new restaurant, Louise, an exhibit hangar and areas for people to watch planes come and go.

It will also have a boardwalk and access to Lake Bentonville, which is just to the building's north. Expanding the lake is part of the development of Osage Park, which will include boardwalks and opportunities to recreate on the lake.

"The way people talk about Bentonville with art, film and biking, they'll talk about aviation the same way," Cox said.

There are two aviation groups coming to Bentonville next year because they've heard of what's happening at the airport, according to Visit Bentonville staff.

"It's a new audience for us to cater to and bring in," said Kalene Griffith, Visit Bentonville president and CEO.

Initially, Visit Bentonville can focus on promoting the airport and its offerings through marketing efforts, Griffith said.

The Momentary -- a contemporary visual and performing arts venue -- is scheduled to open in early 2020, but will hold an outdoor music event in the fall 2019, according to Lieven Bertels, director.

It's at 507 S.E. E St. in the Market District.

The event will be held at the venue's field, which will be able to accommodate 4,000 people seated or 6,000 standing, he said.

There will also be a 400-seat concert hall, a 180-seat black box theater and another performing area in the gallery space inside the building, Bertels said.

"That will give us the flexibility to really ramp up here in Bentonville the amount and types of performing arts and music concerts that can be programmed," he said. "Up until now, the possibility was limited."

Bertels also spoke of the future ability for the Momentary to host multi-day festivals.

Commissioners said the new venue will provide more options for events.

Commissioners also brainstormed on how to take advantage of performances held at the Arkansas Music Pavilion.

Smaller music events in Bentonville advertised on the AMP's website may encourage people to stay in the area longer than a night, said Lee Culpepper, commissioners.

Smaller events would be great for Visit Bentonville to partner with since they typically aren't profit-making, Griffith said.

Kallan Karen, producer with Kickstart Entertainment, told commissioners there's much potential for Northwest Arkansas to become a place where content is filmed, but the state's tax incentive program for media companies needs to be robust.

Two Kickstart Entertainment films will be shot in Canada instead of Arkansas because there wasn't any money available in the state's incentive program, she said.

Griffith said she's working on a presentation to take to state legislators in an effort to get funding for the program.

Griffith and commissioners also agreed to pursue increasing the lodging tax from 2 to 3 percent in 2019.

NW News on 08/31/2018

Print Headline: Visit Bentonville adds aviation to strategy

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