Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)

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Artist on stage with drummer in the background

NEA Jazz Master Ornette Coleman performs as part of the Walker Art Center's three-day festival centered on the jazz legend's music. Photo courtesy of Walker Art Center

Established in 1927 and focusing on contemporary art beginning in the 1940s, Minneapolis' Walker Art Center has established an international reputation as a leader in contemporary arts. One of the few art institutions of its kind in the country, the Walker is equally dedicated to visual, performing, and film/video arts. Nearly 1,500 artists and scholars participate in Walker activities each year, which bring in more than one million annual visitors.

In FY 2004, the Walker received an NEA Creativity grant of $75,000 for its extensive program, Connective Creation: Developing New Work in Community, which will consist of seven large-scaled commissioned residency projects over two years. In March 2005, the Walker nearly doubled the size of the center to provide more possibilities for performances.

Among the artists featured in Connective Creation were the Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, I Dewa Putu Berata, and the Schubert Club Gamelan, some of the most renowned Asian artists, performing a retelling of the Hindu epic Ramayana in a piece entitled Sethu in September 2004. In 2005, music features include a three-night festival celebrating the music and 75th birthday of NEA Jazz Master Ornette Coleman in April and the world premiere of up-and-coming jazz pianist Jason Moran's new jazz suite inspired by the art works of the Walker's collection in May. Dance features include the Bill T. Jones's world premiere of his new solo program As I Was Saying... in June 2005. During the two years of Connective Creation, 14 weeks of developmental residencies are designed to build bonds between the artists and the community.

(From the 2004 NEA Annual Report)