The Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary contemporary art center in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States. The Walker is one of the most-visited modern and contemporary art museums in the United States and, together with the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Cowles Conservatory, it has an annual attendance of around 700,000 visitors. The museum's permanent collection includes over 13,000 modern and contemporary art pieces including books, costumes, drawings, media works, paintings, photography, prints, and sculpture.
The Walker Art Center began 1879 as a personal art gallery in the home of lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker. Walker formally established his collection as the Walker Art Gallery in 1927. With the support of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, the Walker Art Gallery became the Walker Art Center in January 1940. The Walker celebrated its 75th anniversary as a public art center in 2015.
The Walker's new building, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes and opened in May 1971, saw a major expansion in 2005. Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron's addition included an additional gallery space, a theater, restaurant, shop, and special events space.
The Walker Art Center maintains a professional, in-house design and editorial department to fulfill its various communication needs. The department is responsible for the design and editing of all printed materials, including the creation and planning of publications such as exhibition catalogues, bi-monthly magazines, and books, as well as exhibition and event graphics, signage programs, and promotional campaigns.
Additionally, the department organizes design-related projects and programs, such as lectures, exhibitions, and special commissions. Over the course of its 60-plus year history, the department has organized many important exhibitions on architecture and design, and has served as a vital forum for contemporary design issues, bringing hundreds of world-renowned architects, designers, and critics to the Twin Cities through programs such as the Insights design lecture series, which celebrated its 30th year in 2016. During the 1940s, the Walker built two "idea houses" exhibiting the latest in building materials, furnishings and architectural design trends.
From the late 1960s until the early '90s, the museum's design curator Mildred Friedman helped conceive and stage exhibitions on, among other topics, the Dutch avant-garde movement De Stijl, the design process at the Modernist furniture company Herman Miller, the history of graphic design, and traditional and contemporary Japanese arts, crafts and culture. For more than 30 years, the Walker has also offered the Mildred S. Friedman Design Fellowship, a yearlong program for young designers.