Activities & Resources
Walker Art Center551in Minneapolis, MN 55403
about Walker Art Center:
Parents of toddlers and preschoolers may find the modern art on exhibit here a little too approachable: A visit to the spacious wide-open galleries can easily be eaten up just trying to keep energetic young explorers from tearing across the floor and touching artwork in easy reach. The guides in each gallery are certainly friendly, but watchful, too.
Weather-permitting, most kids - and many adults, too! - will probably be happier exploring the fabulous and free Sculpture Garden across the street. If you're staying in, be sure to check out a free WAC Pack in the lobby - it's a kid-sized backpack filled with creative themed activities (leave an ID in exchange). Visitors can also borrow sketch pads and pencils if the urge to create sneaks up on them when they're empty-handed.
Multimedia, abstract, and pop art installations give older kids a chance to interact with the art on display, including "chatting" with a dolphin and playing video "games." Comfortable nooks and benches throughout the main level are wired with headphones, so even when you're just resting you can soak up aural art. The exhibits can be thought-provoking, but here particularly, beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. Some may find the works ground-breaking, others may find them contrived.
There are two regularly scheduled free-admission programs: Free First Saturdays, the first Saturday of each month, during which boatloads of fabulous and creative hands-on multi-media activities are offered; and Free Thursday Evenings, with performances and activities skewed toward adults.
The Walker Shop carries a wide selection of artsy toys, goody bag items, and fun, colorful playthings for infants. It's open later than the museum: Tue-Sat 11am-9pm; Sun 11am-6pm. On-site food options run the gamut from a coffee cart to pricey five-star cuisine.
The museum makes good use of the latest technology - though the website can be a bit frustrating to navigate. Visitors can avail themselves of Art on Call audio tours via cell phones and MP3 players to find out more about what they're seeing. Just look for the codes on signs around the exhibits, or call 612.374.8200.
Classes: The Walker offers an interesting selection of one-day workshops and ongoing classes exploring contemporary culture and studio arts, with particularly good programming for teens interested in film-making.
Summer camps: Camps are offered at the Walker and other locations, for kids ages three to 14. Programs feature hands-on visual and performing arts experiences, and many have last-day presentations for parents. There are also several Family Camps, providing opportunities for parents and children to create art together and explore local arts organizations.
Membership: Benefits include free gallery admission; discounts on dining, classes, store merchandise; and special pricing for performances at the Walker and other venues. New members can also select a free gift. Household memberships start at $60/year.