365: A YEAR TO VIEW
The Walker Art Center is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists and the active engagement of audiences. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts of our time, the Walker takes a multidisciplinary approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of art. Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.
ENGAGING THE FUTURE
Each of the past 10 years since I became director of the Walker in 1991 has been animated by an evolving network of pleasures connected to an unusually civic-minded Board, a sophisticated staff skilled at working across departmental and institutional boundaries, an audience with wonderfully diverse interests, and thousands of deeply engaged artists. But this has been an especially rewarding year with record attendance breaking the one million mark and an additional two million visitors exploring our award-winning Web site.
Truly "more than a museum," we also celebrated Walker-organized exhibitions moving to cities such as London and Paris, where more than 10,000 people lined up for the opening of Let's Entertain at the Centre Georges Pompidou; a film premiering on HBO that was begun as a residency project by artist Cheryl Dunye at the Shakopee women's prison; Walker on Wheels (WOW), an eccentrically shaped, mobile art lab bringing artists, workshops, and exhibitions to neighborhoods throughout Minneapolis; and 13 new works commissioned by the Performing Arts Department involving artists from around the region and the globe, including Joanna Haigood's Picture Powderhorn, a spectacle of aerial dance, electronic music, and video created to cover the 120-foot ConAgra Marquette grain silos--the largest canvas, screen, or stage any of us could imagine!
Unlike more traditional institutions, we often function beyond our own walls and as a laboratory, offering artists the time, money, space, and research capabilities to test ideas and invent works ranging from sculptures and dances to digital projections. These explorations expose our audiences to the twists and turns of the creative process through activities such as master classes and lectures as well as by working directly with the artist. With generous support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, artists increasingly incorporate the stories of our area into their own work. For example, Jamaican-born Nari Ward completed a yearlong residency working with the community on an installation for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Exploring ways that memory functions across cultures, Ward set out to learn about the Twin Cities. His research and conversations ultimately led him to combine the history of the predominantly African-American Rondo neighborhood in St. Paul, which was destroyed by the construction in 1964 of Interstate I-94; the floor plans of a 1940 ice palace designed by Clarence Wigington, Minnesota's first registered African-American architect; and the stories of participants from 11 community organizations involved in workshops focusing on their sense of home and dislocation. The space that sometimes seems to exist between the life of the institution and the daily lives of our visitors was bridged by a richly textured exchange of personal histories carefully choreographed by the artist.
This experience--in which a contemporary artist was able to create a bold new work while exposing people unaccustomed to the pleasures of contemporary art to the thrill of the creative process itself--is what we hope to provide to more of our visitors in the future. While we are proud that the 1,021,754 visitors we attract make us one of the 10 most-visited art museums in the nation and one of the top 10 tourist attractions in the state, numbers alone do not tell the story of our aspirations. We aim to more deeply engage those who participate in our programs and encourage their repeat visits while continuing to broaden our appeal.
We believe that the Walker's ambitious expansion project will result in an exciting and dynamic arts center that will increase the public's access to high-quality arts programs in the Twin Cities. Having unveiled the conceptual design for the expanded Walker campus in April, this is indeed a unique time and place to make a major leap into the future. The compelling design by the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron (whose founding partners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron were this year's winners of the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Award), in partnership with Minneapolis-based Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc. (HGA), features an interplay of integrated indoor and outdoor spaces designed to enhance the artistic, educational, and social experience for all visitors, including families, students, teens, and artists.
The Walker's expansion addresses the museum's need for additional space to meet the growth in attendance, programs, and collections as well as increase its emphasis on education. The Walker is poised to expand upon its foundation as "one of the foremost museums of modern art, second only in some people's thinking to the Museum of Modern Art" (The New York Times, January 28, 2000).
But this expansion is not so much about "bigger." We are creating a lively and inclusive environment, operating day and night, in which all the art forms are accessible. Unlike any major museum, performing-arts complex, or movie house in this country, we will be able to offer our audiences the unique opportunity to experience under one roof the relationships between all the art forms. This expansion plan creates a 21st-century destination that also strengthens our role as a civic magnet--a gathering place for delighting in and debating the values embodied in artworks from within the community and around the world.
The enhanced Walker Art Center, with an additional 100,000 square feet of interior space, four additional acres of new garden, expanded rooftop terraces, and on-site underground parking, will feature additional galleries for the museum's new acquisitions as well as the display of its remarkable collection of 20th-century art; a new series of spaces for education threaded throughout the facility; and a technologically sophisticated studio where all the art forms come together. As the lines between the visual, performing, and media arts become increasingly blurred in the 21st century, this multidisciplinary studio will provide support for artistic innovation. The 350-seat studio for the development of new artist commissions as well as for master classes will expand the range and definition of theater, dance, opera, and music, while offering audiences an intimate connection to the creation of new work. Ringed by a new-media laboratory and galleries, the studio will allow for the convergence of art forms in a pioneering, one-of-a-kind theatrical space. Public and highly visible spaces will be dedicated to school and community groups, teens, and tour guides, and a series of interactive spaces for individualized learning will be located throughout the building. Added will be an interactive info lounge, extending the previously private library, where visitors of all ages can personalize itineraries to guide their journey through the building and the Walker's artistic resources; a new art lab, double its current size, for hands-on experiences for people of all ages; and a teen center to house the museum's model program for youth.
The plan integrates the existing building with new construction while respecting both the integrity of Edward Larrabee Barnes' design and the residential character of the neighborhood. The expansion, nearly doubling the size of the current facility, is oriented to the south, along Hennepin Avenue, to the site formerly occupied by the Allianz Life Insurance Company building. The resulting new facade, embracing Hennepin Avenue at street level, will be transparent and inviting in nature, opening up to the life of downtown Minneapolis.
The existing facility will be remodeled to better support other Walker programs, including those in film and video. The expanded Walker will include a series of indoor and outdoor space that, like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, will operate as a "town square," drawing people for informal conversation, interactive learning, and community programs. This beautiful and inviting space, with distinct zones of quiet and conviviality, will introduce the visitor to the Walker's unique spectrum of programs and to the ideas animating them. Further development of the design will take up to two years, with construction beginning in 2003. The expanded facility, reflecting the unique multidisciplinary focus of the Walker's programs for the first time in its history, is scheduled to open to the public in 2005.
In a recent New York Times article about Herzog & de Meuron, architectural writer Herbert Muschamp wrote: "Working within a modern idiom, Herzog & de Meuron is best known for its refined use of building materials.... The firm's projects invariably have the luster of gems. Light figures prominently in the designs, glowing softly through metallic screens or captured by the burnished texture of concrete floors. With translucent glass and veil-like metal facades, the architects treat walls as porous membranes between public and private space." In June, Mortensen, Minnesota's largest builder with extensive arts, entertainment, and cultural experience, was chosen as the construction contractor for the expansion. The Community Participation Committee, made up of committed neighbors, has been meeting to discuss plans for the expansion since September 2000. Assembled at the suggestion of Minneapolis councilmember Lisa Goodman, the group is made up of two individuals from each of the four neighborhoods surrounding the Walker. The committee has been involved from the earliest aspects of design and its input and suggestions have been invaluable. The expansion plans have been taken directly to community groups and neighborhood organizations and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback.
While this certainly is a singular moment for the Walker Art Center, it is even more importantly, I believe, a pivotal moment for our region. As recent announcements suggest, something special is happening here: a critical mass of distinguished new buildings is planned, allowing many organizations to share more of their resources more broadly while potentially attracting new visitors to the Twin Cities and increasing its international visibility. This is a remarkable time to be part of the cultural life of this community, and I encourage all our visitors, neighbors, and friends to become an active part of this civic lesson!
KATHY HALBREICH, DIRECTOR
A HOUSE BUILT WITH SOLID SUPPORTS
Each year, the Walker organizes an artistic program that both champions the new and initiates groundbreaking historical research. Programs in the visual, performing, and media arts support and present some of the most influential artists and ideas of our time. The Walker has been singled out by a number of national and local foundations as a leader in developing new audiences, and for providing a singular environment that brings people together to converse, debate, and experience the ideas and values that stretch our own sense of the world we share. As president of the Board, it gives me great pleasure to share the following programmatic highlights and to thank our contributors for the extraordinary financial support that made such a remarkable year possible.
A 1994 grant of $1.25 million from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, the largest programmatic grant in the Walker's history, supported projects that expanded the accessibility of the permanent collection for new as well as traditional audiences. Given our current progress in attracting underserved audiences--low-income visitors (approximately 36% of our attendees earn less than $25,000), teens (nearly 10% of our audience), and people of color (nearly 15% of the total)--the award of a $1.25 million four-year Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation (LEAP) grant from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund in September 2000 was particularly heartening. It acknowledges the Walker's commitment to defining a new, more inclusive model for a 21st-century arts center. During the grant period, the Walker will expand its artist-in-residence initiative, enhance its popular Free Thursdays programming, increase the number of activities that take place in neighborhoods throughout the community in the mobile art lab Walker on Wheels, develop even more robust and interactive Web-based activities for people of all ages, and research the most innovative designs for public spaces that incorporate interactive educational activities. Michael Moore, Director of the Arts Programs at the Fund, said, "Without question, the Walker Art Center has set new standards for connecting the arts and artists of our time with the diversity of today's audiences. Since 1994, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund has been pleased to support the Walker through our cultural initiatives with two grants totaling $2,500,000."
A key element of the Walker's vision for the next century is to move toward a more global outlook reflecting both contemporary practice as well as the shifting demographics of our own community. With funding provided by a three-year, $1,000,000 grant awarded by the Bush Foundation in March 1999, the Walker concluded its second year of the Bush Global Initiative. One of its goals is for the Walker to develop a global network of curators, critics, and presenters from non-European backgrounds who can help us expand the intellectual and artistic resources available to our own curators, educators, and audiences. A global advisory committee, which includes artists and curators from Brazil, China, Japan, South Africa, and Turkey, traveled to Minneapolis twice to meet with Walker curators and programmers to discuss issues related to different cultural practices and values and to critique the Walker's global programs. Funding from the Bush Foundation also supported the exhibition Painting at the Edge of the World, the Performing Arts Department's presentation of Ralph Lemon's Tree (Part II of the Geography trilogy), and an expanded selection of international films in the Film/Video Department's Women with Vision film and video festival.
At the same time, the Walker's five-year audience engagement initiative, Artists and Communities at the Crossroads, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, continued to make these global connections relevant to our own diverse communities by creating links between living artists and audiences. Highlights of the third year of this exciting initiative, designed to more deeply engage the diverse residents living in the neighborhoods surrounding the museum, included extended artist residencies conducted with visual artists Nari Ward and Catherine Opie, choreographers Bill T. Jones and Liz Lerman, and filmmaker Spencer Nakasako. All of these artists worked closely with community partners to create new work. Pew funding also supported two new installations in the Andersen Window Gallery and our popular Free Thursdays program.
Visitors were fortunate to be able to see 14 exceptional exhibitions at the Walker during the past fiscal year. During the summer, the museum presented The Home Show, a four-part exhibition tracing our notions of home and modern living in the last half century and into the future. This show drew 146,751 visitors (an average of 2,224 per day) and replaced the Disney architecture show as the fifth most-visited exhibition in Walker history. The Home Show was made possible by generous support from the Andersen Corporation, Coldwell Banker Burnet, Room & Board, the Archie D. and Bertha H. Walker Foundation, and The Pew Charitable Trusts. In-kind support was provided by Herman Miller, Inc., and promotional assistance was provided by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. The Walker's presentation of The Un-Private House component of The Home Show, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, was designed in partnership with Blu Dot Design, Minneapolis; and The Architecture Studio was a collaboration with the Department of Architecture, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) at the University of Minnesota.
Other highlights of the summer and early fall included State of the Art: Recent Gifts and Acquisitions and The Cities Collect. Where State of the Art explored the ways in which the Walker's multidisciplinary nature is reflected in its collecting practice, The Cities Collect celebrated the important role collectors play in the creative life of our community with a selection of works from many of the superb metro-area collections of modern and contemporary art. The Walker's Board and staff are deeply grateful to all of the private collectors who so generously loaned work for this exhibition. Also on view from June 25 through September 24 was Dialogues: Bonnie Collura/ Santiago Cucullu, an exhibition pairing New York-based Collura's large-scale wall paintings with Minneapolis-based Cucullu's sculptures. Dialogues was made possible by generous support from the Jerome Foundation.
The Walker's artist-in-residence program encourages artists and performers to collaborate with and share their creative processes with the Twin Cities community. In October, the Walker was pleased to highlight three artists with whom we have established ongoing relationships. Coloring: New Work by Glenn Ligon opened in Gallery 7 and included the results of Ligon's collaboration with local youngsters. His exhibition was funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Target Stores. A new work by visual artist Nari Ward called Rites-of-Way was unveiled in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. While in residence, Ward worked with former Rondo neighborhood residents, recent Laotian immigrants, members of the Powderhorn Park Writers' Group and teens in the Walker's Teen Arts Council, the Penumbra Theatre Company Summer Institute, and Kulture Klub @ Project Offstreets to integrate their stories and thoughts on concepts of home, dislocation, and ritual into his sculpture. His residency and commission were made possible by generous support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Department 56, Inc. in honor of its founder, Edward R. Bazinet, Target Stores, members of the Walker Art Center's 5:30 Saturday Contemporary Arts Forum, and Dunwoody Institute. The creative process of one of the most inspiring artists of our time, choreographer Bill T. Jones, was highlighted in the Andersen Window Gallery exhibition Artist-in-Residence: Bill T. Jones, made possible by generous support from the Andersen Corporation. Additional funding for the Andersen Window Gallery was provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Betlach Family Foundation.
In November, visitors were able to see Herzog & de Meuron: In Process, an exploration of work by the firm selected to design the Walker's expansion. The opening-day talk with Jacques Herzog immediately sold out. The exhibition was made possible by generous gifts from Richard and Pamela Kramlich, Kraus-Anderson Construction Company, and Dominus Estate.
Painting at the Edge of the World, organized by Walker curator Douglas Fogle, opened in February. Rather than presenting a conservative and nostalgic celebration of the tradition of painterly practice, Painting at the Edge of the World united a wide range of global artists whose diversified styles address the continued relevance of painting at the beginning of the new century. The exhibition proved to be both a critical and popular success: in addition to articles in Vanity Fair, Elle, Talk, and Artforum, it drew an audience of 101,728--an average of 1,641 people a day--making it the 13th most-popular exhibition in the Walker's history. Painting at the Edge of the World was made possible by generous support from the Betlach Family Foundation, the Bush Foundation, American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program, Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., Jumex Foundation, and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Promotional assistance was provided by Mpls.St. Paul Magazine.
In March, the Walker celebrated the opening of Y E S YOKO ONO with a sold-out preview party and a Director's Circle dinner attended by the artist. The exhibition, which was organized by the Japan Society, New York, presented more than 150 of Ono's works, allowing audiences to explore the full range of her achievement--from her early experiments with music and performance to her well-known films and sculptures to her most recent installations, interactive objects, and drawings. Ono also participated in a sold-out artist's talk during the opening weekend. The Minneapolis presentation of Y E S YOKO ONO was sponsored by Sam Goody, with additional support provided by the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and in-kind support provided by Planet Propaganda. Walker curator Joan Rothfuss, who organized the Walker's presentation of Y E S YOKO ONO, also contributed an essay to the catalogue that accompanied the exhibition.
The final Gallery 7 exhibition of the past fiscal year, Franz Marc and the Blue Rider, presented several of Marc's masterpieces, including The Large Blue Horses (1911), a longtime favorite from the Walker's permanent collection. Other highlights included eight works by Wassily Kandinsky, and paintings by Gabriele Münter, Alexej Jawlensky, and August Macke from private collections in the Twin Cities. Franz Marc and the Blue Rider was organized with the assistance of the Busch-Reisinger Museum at Harvard University, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and several private collectors. The Walker's presentation of the exhibition was made possible by the generous financial support of Marshall Field's Project Imagine, Allianz, Leonard and Mary Lou Hoeft, Margot Siegel, and John Taft and Martha McPhee.
In June, the Walker opened the last major visual arts exhibition of the fiscal year, Alice Neel. Her daring portraits of people and places are among the most insightful images in 20th-century American art, and this exhibition is the first full-scale examination of her inspiring and often provocative work. Alice Neel was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis presentation was funded through generous gifts from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Linda and Lawrence Perlman, Hartley S. and Richard Neel, and Dolly Fiterman. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue that includes an essay by the Walker's chief curator, Richard Flood. The Board and staff were especially pleased that Alice Neel's sons, daughters-in-law, and five of her six grandchildren--all of whom were frequent subjects of her paintings--attended on opening night.
Throughout the year, Walker visitors also viewed works from the permanent collection in the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, made possible by generous support from Jeanne and Richard Levitt and Norwest Bank Minnesota.
With the largest museum-based performing arts department in the country, the Walker continued to nurture and celebrate the most important and innovative artistic visions in contemporary dance, music, and theater. In September 1998, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation approved a $1,500,000 multiyear grant to support the Walker's current performing arts programs in jazz and dance and to establish a Doris Duke Performing Arts Endowment to fund activities in the future. This year, monies were used to support major new commissions and performances by choreographers Joanna Haigood, Ralph Lemon, Tere O'Connor, Bill T. Jones, Liz Lerman, Emio Greco, and local choreographers in Momentum: New Dance Works; concerts by the Buena Vista Social Club, Susie Ibarra, and John Zorn's Masada; Minneapolis celebrates the AACM at 35; and the world premiere of a new music-theater work by Sekou Sundiata and Craig Harris called Udu. In addition to the very generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Performing Arts Department also received major funding from the Bush Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, Onsite Performance Network, a program of Dancing in the Streets, Target Stores, the Jerome Foundation, and Powderhorn/Central Community Collaborative. Additional support was provided by the British Council, Chamber Music America, Consulate General of the Netherlands, Heartland Arts Fund, the Gertrude Lippincott Fund, MLT Vacations, National Performance Network, Old Navy, Randall Thorsett, and Ruth and David Waterbury.
Highlights of the Walker's Film/Video Department programming over the past year included Magnetic North, a touring program of Canadian experimental video guest-curated by Jenny Lion, made possible by the Canadian Consulate General, Minneapolis, and Magnetic North partners Video Pool, Inc., Winnipeg, and the University of Minnesota Press, and with the assistance of Plug In, Winnipeg. The Regis Dialogues, made possible by the very generous and sustained funding of the Regis Foundation, brought Doris Dörrie and Agnès Varda to the Walker to share retrospectives of their work. Women with Vision, the Walker's annual tribute to women filmmakers from around the world, set a new attendance record and was made possible by generous support from the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota Women's Foundation, Nasser and Yvonne Kazeminy, and the Minnesota Film Board. The Walker's popular annual Summer Music and Movies series was sponsored by Old Navy and MLT Vacations and also received generous promotional assistance from City Pages and Zone 105. Funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts was used to support an artist residency with Spencer Nakasako, who taught Native American and Hmong youth how to use digital cameras and editing equipment to produce short documentaries. The Film/Video Department also used funding from a major grant from the Bentson Family Fund for the Acquisition, Conservation, and Presentation of Film to support its programming.
The Walker's New Media Initiatives Department advances the museum's educational and artistic mission through the use of innovative forms of digital media, particularly the Internet, and the Walker's Web site (www.walkerart.org) is one of the few museum sites in the world to include a digital arts study collection. ArtsConnectEd, the award-winning educational Web site developed in collaboration with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts that links teachers, parents, and students to the vast array of arts resources held by Minnesota's two largest art museums, received major support from the Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature. Additional support for ArtsConnectEd was provided by MCI WorldCom. The Jerome Foundation generously supported a program of commissions entitled Emerging Artists/ Emergent Medium, which included public presentation of the commissioned works in our virtual Gallery 9, as well as Free Ware, a series of presentations and conversations about the intersection of art and technology. Marshall Field's Project Imagine and The McKnight Foundation also contributed major grants to support New Media Initiatives programming.
The Walker's Education and Community Programs Department served more than 205,000 adults, teenagers, and children through a wide range of stimulating programs and continued to draw national acclaim for its innovative audience engagement initiatives, including a major endowment gift from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation. The highly popular Free First Saturdays were made possible by Coldwell Banker Burnet, with additional support for family programs provided by Target Stores and the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. Teen Programs received major support from a multiyear grant from the Surdna Foundation. Schools and Tours and Explore membership programs also were supported by a major gift from Target Stores. Walker on Wheels programming in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and in community settings such as Powderhorn Park was generously funded by the Medtronic Foundation. The Blandin Foundation supported educator training throughout Minnesota that helped teachers learn how to use ArtsConnectEd in their classrooms. Additional support for the Education and Community Programs Department during the past fiscal year was provided by American Express Financial Advisors, ARTWORKS Children's Foundation, Best Buy Children's Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Vera List, and Dick and Claudia Swager.
Walker After Hours was launched on September 12, 1997, as a means of attracting a young, professional crowd to the Walker Art Center. Since then, After Hours has generated a great deal of enthusiasm in the community and provides a lively, energetic setting in which visitors can freely explore the Walker and all its multidisciplinary programs.
To date, more than 55,000 people have shared in the experience, and we're especially pleased to have welcomed 2,500 new Walker members as a result of the event--an impressive 4.5% rate of conversion. The Walker is extremely grateful to Marshall Field's Project Imagine for its generous sponsorship of After Hours.
I am very pleased to report that the Walker's Annual Fund once again met and exceeded its goals, and all of us at the museum are most grateful to our donors for their extraordinary financial support of our work. I would especially like to thank this year's major government, corporate, and foundation donors: the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, Target Stores, Marshall Field's, and Mervyn's with support from the Target Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, General Mills Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program, Honeywell International, the Cargill Foundation, U.S. Bank, 3M, and The St. Paul Companies. Northwest Airlines Inc. also deserves special recognition for serving as the official airline of the Walker Art Center.
Finally, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Kathy Halbreich, the incredibly talented Walker staff, and my colleagues on the Board for their unwavering devotion to this institution. This was an exceptional year for the Walker, and I thank all of the artists, community partners, donors, volunteers, and visitors who made it all possible.
STEVE WATSON, PRESIDENT