Bryant Avenue has a lot of stories to tell. And one of the stories that I chose to focus on specifically is how the Walker Art Center has impacted the community which lives right on Bryant Avenue. The Walker Art center is a public and very well-known art museum that draws in thousands every year. Now the reasons for this are many but I decided to break it down into four different parts. These four things are the creation of the art center in 1927, the continuation and problems faced during the great depression, the opening of the sculpture garden in 1988, the recent expansion of the building in 2005, and the events and activities that were held in 2010. All of these are reasons for why the community surrounded by Bryant Avenue has always thrived ever since the creation of the art center. Even today the WAC still attracts plenty of visitors and with new additions being added the numbers are expected to only increase. According to Walkerart.org in 2016 an astounding 610,000 people visited the Walker and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
During the Great Depression the WAC would continue to stay open but only three of the staff remained. After 1935, Walker’s grandchildren Hudson Walker and Louise Walker McCannel ran the gallery until the Minnesota Arts Council took charge in 1939. After the change a staff of over thirty were hired some from the surrounding community.
Adjacent to the walker is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the nations’s largest urban sculpture parks. When the Garden opened in 1988, it was immediately heralded by the New York Times as “the finest new outdoor space in the country for displaying sculpture.”
Opened in April 2005, the most recent building expansion nearly doubled the size of the WAC. The expansion, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, included an additional gallery space, a theater, shop, and special events space. This was avery needed expansion and it helped see a rise in attendance and in revenue.
In 2010, the Walker’s backyard was home to numerous activities from conversations to performances and temporary sculptures. This drew in a lot of the community and got people together. It helped create the campus as a cultural commons, a shared space for idea exchanges and unexpected interactions.
The Walker Art Center has clearly had a huge impact on the neighborhoods that surround Bryant Avenue.This has been shown in the creation of the Walker Art Center in 1927, the sculpture garden , the expansion of the design in 2005, and the various events that are held just like the one of 2010. Bryant Avenue has seen all of this and the community has been there to support it from since the beginning. And it seems that the community of Bryant Avenue will continue to support for many more years to come.
“Mission & History.” Walker Art Center, Walker Art Center walkerart.org/about/mission-history.
“Walker Art Center.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 9 Dec. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walker_Art_Center
Walker Art Center.” MNopedia, www.mnopedia.org/place/walker-art-center.
Schultz, Sarah, et al. Open Field: Conversations on the Commons. Walker Art Center, 2012.