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The Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden...

The Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Develop a 19-Acre Arts Campus

The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a conjunction that depicts richness in cultures and arts, have long been prominent landmarks in the City of Minneapolis. The Walker, alone, contributes substantial historical value to Minnesota. It began in 1879 when Thomas Barlow Walker, a Minneapolis man, kept a room inside his house to

by Tam Nguyen June 15, 2016 No comments

Cheery Sculpture in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a conjunction that depicts richness in cultures and arts, have long been prominent landmarks in the City of Minneapolis. The Walker, alone, contributes substantial historical value to Minnesota. It began in 1879 when Thomas Barlow Walker, a Minneapolis man, kept a room inside his house to display his favorite art collection. The initial personal art gallery became the Walker Art Center in January 1940 after sustaining many changes. Currently, the Walker represents “a multidisciplinary arts organization” on an international level and a nexus that unites communities to the arts in Minneapolis. Its collaboration with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, an 11-acre public park that opened adjacently to the Walker in 1988, further ignites the people of Minneapolis’ love for the arts.  

To mark a new milestone for the Walker Art Center and celebrate its 75th anniversary, organizers of both the art institute and sculpture garden announced a renovation project in March 2015. The renovation will combine the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, developing a 19-acre campus that focuses on green landscaping and environmental sustainability.

New designs and features of the art museum and sculpture garden include:

  • New entry pavilion for the Walker, with refined indoor and outdoor amenities and spaces, designed by Joan Soranno and John Cook of HGA Minneapolis;
  • Green-roof technology on the entry pavilion;
  • New green landscaping on the hillside of the Walker’s campus designed by Petra Blaisse of Inside Outside;
  • Through a partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will be redesigned by landscape architect, Tom Oslund, of oslund.and.assoc.;
  • Storm-water management systems in the sculpture garden; and
  • Greening of campus and Hennepin Avenue with hundreds of new trees.

Organizers hope that these anticipated designs and implementation, such as the storm-water management systems, will enhance the campus’ natural environment, as well as protect the Mississippi River’s water quality, while reducing the risk of pollution.    

Construction of The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

In total, the project costs $33.3 million. While the Walker has $23.3 million in private donations to fund its side of the renovation, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has $8.5 million in public bond support from Minnesotans, Governor Mark Dayton, and the Minnesota State Legislature. Additionally, the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization contributed $1.5 million for the storm-water management systems portion of the project. Currently, the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden are under construction. Organizers expect the Walker’s renovation to be completed in fall 2016 and the Sculpture Garden to be reopened to the public in spring 2017.

How will the renovation of the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden transform the community? Will this renovation mark a new beginning for art culture in Minneapolis? Are there major museums or arts partnerships in your community? Share your thoughts and your city's stories in the comments area below.

Credits: Images by Tam Nguyen. Data linked to sources.

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Tam is a graduate of St. Olaf College. She double majored in Sociology/Anthropology and Asian Studies with a China Studies concentration. She's currently a college adviser for high school seniors at College Possible in St. Paul, Minnesota. Tam's ho...