William and Nadine McGuire Theater
Inventing the 21st-Century Arts Center
The Walker's expanded 17-acre urban campus opens the weekend of April 15-17, 2005, and as we drive up Hennepin Avenue past the open and inviting new face of the Walker, we imagine ourselves in the space: exploring the expansive new galleries and the full depth of the permanent collection; watching today's most innovative performing artists at work in the new 385-seat theater or a film from India in the newly remodeled cinema; enjoying the breathtaking views from the lounges, restaurant, and public terraces; making new educational connections in the individualized learning areas throughout the building; and finding a unique book or gift in the Shop.
By the end of the Walker's current fiscal year (July 1, 2003, through June 30, 2004) 128 individuals, corporations, and foundations had pledged $77.4 million to our $92 million campaign. We need to raise an additional $14.6 million in order to reach our goal and complete the expansion project.
As we listen to our generous donors speak about why they've contributed to the Walker's expansion, we are struck once again by the deep passion they bring to this project: passion for this community's quality of life, for the Walker, and for the importance of art in both their personal and public lives. We are truly fortunate to have such active and involved supporters.
All contributors to the capital campaign are helping invent a new model for cultural institutions-placing audience engagement and multiple artistic disciplines at its center, and nearly doubling the size of the existing facility by adding 130,000 square feet of interior space and four acres of green space. For the first time in the history of the Walker, audiences will be able to experience under one roof the relationships between the most innovative visual, performing, and media arts of our time. And the public spaces invite groups from three to one hundred to gather for a conversation or a meal. No other major institution offers this artistic richness.
The new building also comes at a critical juncture for the Walker. Since its modest expansion in 1984, the audience for its programs has more than doubled-from 396,000 to nearly a million visitors in 1999-2000. The permanent collection has grown by more than 40 percent during the past decade, yet only 2 percent of it could be on view at any one time. The Walker's nationally recognized Teen Programs had no facility within the institution, more than 60 percent of performing arts events were presented off-site, and the Walker's library was bursting at its seams. The potential of the expanded campus to meet the needs of both artists and audiences is incredible, and we're so excited to see that potential realized.
We hope you'll join us as we near the end of our capital campaign and prepare for April's grand open-ing of the new Walker, the 21st-century arts center.
Ralph Burnet and Steve Watson,
Co-chairs, Capital Campaign Committee