Green spaces galore! Walker announces improvements for 75th anniversary


The grounds at the Walker Art Center are getting a facelift as part of a $75 million capital campaign for the art center's 75th anniversary.

The project, which was announced Tuesday, includes environmentally sustainable improvements and additional green spaces that are meant to unify the Walker's 19-acre campus, which includes the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

Here's a look at what will be changing at the Walker.

The Walker plans to renovate its outdoor spaces and add a new entry pavilion. The new entryway along Vineland Place will unify the campus – bringing together the inside and outside along with the old and new, the Walker says.

The entry features floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer views of the sculpture garden. There will also be a new bar and dining area, as well as art space.

When seen from above, the entry pavilion has a green roof terrace, which helps blend the entrance with the surrounding landscape as well as offer views to the sculpture garden.

New landscaping on the southwest edge of the Walker will feature new volumes of trees and space for future programs and activities at the center.

Additional landscaping, including trees and shrubs, will replace the current concrete and granite landscaping along Hennepin Avenue.

View more photos of what's changing at the Walker here.

Sculpture garden getting a makeover

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which was created through a partnership between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Walker Art Center, will also be getting a makeover – both visually and sustainably – as part of this $75 million capital campaign.

What visitors won't see is the new sustainable stormwater recovery and rainwater irrigation system, and there will be plenty of visible additions to the garden, which will make room for additional pieces of art.

On the northern end of the garden, a new meadow with circular clearings will showcase new and old art. Footbridges and additional landscaping will connect the clearings.

Construction will begin in the fall of 2015. The new entry pavilion and the landscaping on the Walker's campus is expected to be completed in the fall of 2016, while the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will fully reopen to the public by spring 2017.

The capital campaign also includes two new staff appointments – Fionn Meade, the Walker's first artistic director, and Nisa Mackie, the education and programs director – who will help expand programming and increase community engagement, according to a news release.

The Walker already has 80 percent of the $75 million initiative funded – $49.8 million from private contributions, plus $10 million in public contributions through the parks board for the sculpture garden.

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