The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota centers around visual, performing, and contemporary media arts with a global and multidisciplinary approach to the interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. The Walker Art Center began in 1879 when Thomas Barlow Walker, a lumber baron, added an addition onto his home to serve as a place to hang his paintings and art collections for people to come look at. By 1915, T.B. Walker had expanded the collection to 14 themed rooms.
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The next year Walker purchased Lowry Hill and within the next two years he offered the land and his personal collections to the City of Minneapolis on condition that an art gallery be built. Five years later, no plans had been successful and Walker decided to build his own gallery and on May 21, 1927 Walker Art Galleries opened to the public.
In 1940, the Walker Art Galleries was revitalized as a regional arts center and renamed Walker Art Center. The Museum focused on Modern Art and the collection expanded to include performing arts, film, and educational programming. Today, The Walker is known as a national leader in innovative approaches to arts education and is recognized as a model for multidisciplinary art centers internationally.
In 1988, The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden was erected adjacent to the museum as one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the nation. The Walker underwent an expansion in 2005 that increased the indoor and outdoor space with a town square model of community programs and art spaces. The Walker serves more than 700,000 visitors annually and is among the top 5 most visited modern art museums in the country.
Since it’s official founding in 1940, Walker Arts Center has maintained a focus on Modern and Contemporary Arts from a variety of mediums including paintings, sculpture, performance arts, film, books, and more. Some of the artists featured in the galleries include Andy Warhol, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Frank Big Bear, Chuck Close, Joseph Beuys, Katharina Fritsch, Edward Hopper, Frank Stella, Jasper Johns, and Edward Ruscha. The Library Collection includes over 37,000 books and manuscripts from the 1860’s through present history of the Walker Arts Center.
Public tours- Visiting the galleries is self-guided with regular admission; however, every Saturday at 1pm, the Walker offers guided public tours that offers an overview of the current exhibitions. Tours of the Sculpture Garden are also available on Saturdays at Noon. Both tours are free with admission.
Group Tours- Groups visiting The Walker must schedule tours at least one week in advance. Self-Guided tours are available for educators who wish to lead their own class tours. The maximum group size is 75 and tours are usually one-hour long. Accessibility Tours are provided for visitors needing special accommodations such as ASL interpretation, captioning, braille or Large Print.
School Group Tours- All K-12 field trips are guided by museum educators through Walker Galleries and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Special-Education customized tour options are also available. Groups can also visit the Art Lab for a hands-on activity in art making that connects to exhibits they learned about on the tour.
The Walker Arts Center is a town square model of design that incorporates many arts spaces and community education programming spaces.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden- Adjacent from the Walker, the sculpture park displays 40 pieces from The Walker’s collection and is a partnership between The Walker and the Parks and Recreation Department of Minneapolis. The sculpture park is open daily from 6am-midnight.
Walker Cinema- The theatre was renovated in n2012 and is a premier film viewing venue that presents programs with guest film makers. Programs are offered including conversations with film makers and are outlined on The Walker website and updated regularly.
Walker Stage- Performing Arts was incorporated into the Walker design in the 1940’s and programming is offered seasonally that includes dance, theater, jazz, avant-folk, music hybrids and other contemporary performance pieces. Schedules are found online.
The Lab- Home to the many educational programs offered by The Walker Arts Center, The Lab offers lectures, workshops, tours, hands on art making activities, and child and family programming.
Design Studio- Exhibitions on progressive graphic design are found in the award-winning Design Studio where mediums in architecture and landscape can be explored. Publishing endeavors are also featured in this studio with fellowship opportunities available for artists through an application process.
Shopping and Dining
While Visiting the Walker Arts Center, visitors can visit Walker Shop which is also available online for purchases and worldwide shipping. All shop proceeds benefit the arts education programs at The Walker. Kitchen gadgets, souvenirs, books, clothing, garden supplies and home décor, among other merchandise is available.
Esker Grove is found at the base of the hillside addition to The Walker and serves adult beverages, coffee, brunch, lunch and dinner. Esker Grove is a full service fine dining establishment.
City View Baris an adult establishment serving alcohol before and after performance at The Walker with indoor and outdoor seating.
725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403, Phone: 612-375-7600