In April of 2005, the Walker Art Center nearly doubled the size of the existing facility by adding new galleries for the museum's growing collection; a free, four-acre public park; a new 385-seat theater; and a series of interactive areas for individualized learning located throughout the building, including an information lounge where visitors can personalize itineraries to guide their journeys, an expanded library, a new art lab for hands-on art experiences for people of all ages, and a teen center to house the museum's model program for youth. A key aspect of this public space is a town square that, like the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, draws people from throughout the Twin Cities for informal conversation, community programs, and unique engagement with the art of our time. The new Walker now fully reflects the multidisciplinary focus of its programming for the first time in its history.
Since it opened, the Walker's expansion has created a lively environment, operating day and night, in which all the art forms are accessible and in which the art experience is centered on the interests of the visitor. Unlike any other institution in this country, we are able to offer our multiple audiences the unique opportunity to experience under one roof the relationships between the most innovative visual, performing, and media arts of our time. The Walker aspires to provide a glorious environment--the ongoing experience of which is in itself as compelling as a single "blockbuster" event. The goal is to make the Walker a destination--real and virtual. The metaphor for the museum is no longer a church or temple, but a lively forum or town square.
The Walker is proud of its ability to provide a program international in scope while nurturing deep roots in our community. We hope to continue to serve, indeed to better serve, the diversity of artists, audiences, and institutions that make Minnesota such a vibrant and creative community. Join us on this journey of invention. Help us create a new model for a cultural institution that puts audience engagement at its center, under-girds the global visibility of the Twin Cities, sustains innovation during a time of rapid change, and rewards artistic excellence. The community's strong support of the expansion project will allow the museum to fully realize its legacy as described by former Walker director Daniel S. Defenbacher, who wrote in 1944: "An Art Center is a 'town meeting' in a field of human endeavor as old as man himself. By definition, it is a meeting place for all the arts. It provides space in which the public can both participate and be a spectator."