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 global, multidisciplinary, and diverse 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.
More than 125 years ago, a Minneapolis man built a room onto his house, mounted his favorite paintings on the walls, and opened his door to everyone who wanted to come in. In 1879, lumber baron Thomas Barlow (T. B.) Walker’s art gallery was a unique venue for the art of its time. It was also a modest start for a contemporary art center now revered throughout the world for the range and vitality of its visual arts, performing arts, and media arts programs.
The museum’s focus on modern art began in the 1940s, when a gift from Mrs. Gilbert Walker made possible the acquisition of works by important artists of the day, including pieces by Franz Marc, Lyonel Feininger, and Edward Hopper. During the 1960s, the Walker organized increasingly ambitious exhibitions that circulated to museums in the United States and abroad. The Walker’s collections expanded to reflect crucial examples of contemporary artistic developments; concurrently, performing arts, film, and education programs grew proportionately and gained their own national prominence throughout the next three decades. Today, the Walker is recognized internationally as a singular model of a multidisciplinary arts organization and as a national leader for its innovative approaches to audience engagement. Ranking among the five most-visited modern/contemporary art museums in the United States and, together with the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, attracts more than 700,000 visitors per year.