Walker Art Center / Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis
Walker Art Center started in1879 with a collection of paintings, glass, porcelain, ivory and other works that lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker built a public gallery for in his mansion on Hennepin Avenue. That collection took on a life of its own, expanding to a point that the entire house became a museum with Mr. Walker moving himself and his family into the Lowry Mansion on Groveland Terrace - where he built yet another gallery next door.
Thomas wouldn't recognize that site today for it's occupied by a sprawling, modern mass of aluminum, glass and brick visited by 600,000 people a year. Most of his collection is long gone as well: sold to finance additions to the museum's early assemblage of contemporary art gifted by Susan Walker, wife of his son Gilbert. See the website for current hours, admission fees and special exhibits:
The adjoining Sculpture Garden occupies the space that was previously Armory Gardens. The old National Guard building was torn down in the 30's but the gardens were used as a playing field for some years. In 1988 the Mpls. Park Board and Walker Art Museum teamed up to create an outdoor extension of the Walker on that field, and it expanded even further into the spot left vacant by the old Guthrie theater. There are both permanent and rotating items in the collection, and even novice art lovers will recognize the names of some of the better-known artists such as Calder, Moore and Gehry.
A small conservatory with horticultural specimens, and pretty plantings here and there during the warmer months round out the experience. Both the sculpture garden and conservatory are free: see the website for visiting hours and other information:
Combine a potter about the museum and garden with a visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary; take the Whitney footbridge across Hennepin/Lyndale into Loring Park and then over to the church.
The Minneapolis Sculture garden is one of the city's most visited attractions. It opened in 1988 as the first major U.S. urban sculpture park.
The 11 acre park is home to the Cowles Conservatory (vine-covered arches and experimental horticulture displays - loved it!), gardens, and 40 works of art, including the iconic fountain sculpture, Spoonbridge and Cherry.
Spoonbridge and Cherry was commissioned especially for the spot and is so huge that it was fabricated at two different shipyards (one in Maine, one in Rhode Island). The spoon is 52 feet long and the cherry weighs 1,200 pounds. It is definitely the centerpiece of the garden!
No admission to the garden or conservatory. Garden hours are 6 a.m. to midnight daily. Conservatory hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Closed Mondays).
Free guided tours are offered May-September. Call 612-375-7609 or visit the Walker lobby desk for information.
The is a great place to explore on a sunny day. There were lots of couples and families - and even a school group - while we were there. There's even free wifi too in case you need to do some work.
If you're visiting the Walker Art Center on a nice day, be sure to walk across the street to the outdoor Sculpture Garden. There is a huge conservatory as well as a number of interesting modern sculptures strewn throughout a well-kept 11 acre grassy park. There is a relatively new bridge that spans the highway here and takes you safely across to Loring Park. Be sure to walk up there to get some good photos of the park, the Walker Art Center, the Sculpture Garden and the city skyline.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is across from the Walker Art center at 726 Vineland Place. This 11-acre urban garden displays more than 40 sculptures, including the whimsical “Spoonbridge and Cherry.” The Cowles Conservatory contains palm and orange trees and a sculpture pond with glass sculptures. The 375-foot-long Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge spans 16 lanes of traffic to connect the garden with Loring Park and downtown. Allow 30 minutes minimum.
Sculpture Gardens at the Walker Art Museum
Located near Loring Park, outside of the Walker Art Museum, the Sculpture Gardens is a great place to visit. A free exhibit, it is fun to just walk around and look at the different sculptures. One of the pieces, Spoonbridge and Cherry, has become a Minneapolis landmark. A giant spoon with a cherry at it's tip with a fountain flowing out of it's top, it has downtown Minneapolis as it's backdrop.
Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Walker Art Center is one of the nation's primary resources for contemporary art. Focusing on the visual, performing, and media arts, the Walker takes a multidisciplinary approach to the creation, presentation, interpretation, collection, and preservation of the arts. It is known for its major exhibitions of 20th-century art, for its presentation of vanguard music, dance, theater, film, and video, and for its innovative education programs. Many of the performers are invited to participate in artist-in-residence activities and are frequently commissioned to create works that premiere in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a project of the Walker and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is adjacent to the museum. The Walker's permanent collection of more than 8,000 works represents important artistic currents of the 20th century, in a range of styles from figurative to abstract.
The Walker recently got a facelift courtesy of the architectural talents of the world renowned Frank Gehry, but even before the renovations, the museum was well-known nationwide for showing cutting edge art and dance and really anything that is ground breaking.
The focus here is on modern art, which is not my favorite, but if you are interested in this style, the Walker is top-notch.
The Walker is one of my favorite Modern Art Museums in the world. They have many famous artists, (Warhol, Ono, and many others) and even in winter it can be exciting and fullfilling. The sculpture garden in winter is just as magnificent with modern art sculptures spread out over its acreage, including Claes Oldenburg's Spoon and Cherry.......Gallery admission is usually $10 for adults (free under 12) and free on thursdays from 5-9 (thanx to Target)
The sculpture garden is usually free to wander.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is adjacent to the Walker Art Center but has significant advantages over it. Admission to the Garden is free while it usually costs adults $10 to visit the Walker. (There are, however, frequent free days for the Walker sponsored by Target and other local companies.) The Sculpture Garden is an 11 acre park developed jointly by the Walker and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. There are trees, shrubs, and flowers in this garden but, true to its name, there are at least three dozen larger than life sculptures. My favorites are Claes Oldenburg's Spoonbridge and Cherry and Martin Puryear's Ampersand, both from the late 1980s. The Walker Center offers interpretive tours on Thursdays through Sundays. Again the Garden tours are free and the Art Center tours come with the price of admission to the gallery.
an utter waste of time and money, What an utter disappointment. We were only in town for one full day so we had a list of what we wanted to check out and this was on our top 5. MISTAKE. At the time we were aware most of the areas were closed for renovation this might be awesome when it's finished .. wish we had known and maybe it would have been better once the new exhibits are open. I'll never know because this visit left us wishing we'd never came. Offensive they charge full price when half of it was closed and the other half looked like something a child did school. If they were mostly closed for renovations then stay closed till your ready or charge 1/2 since it's half open. We started from the top and went in a room ... a huge room with big wood frames ... some in metal some blue .. my husband asked where the exhibit was .. and she said this is it. HUH... very UNDERWHELMING.
The Walker Art Center was a cool place to visit. During the time I was there, a Picasso exhibit was being displayed. For $10 we walked through the display and checked out some of the other work inside the museum. Afterwards we strolled through the Sculpture Garden where we saw some interesting work.
The Walker Art Center presents the most important cultural forces in the world, and is one of the most important institutions in the world of contemporary art. With a suberb core collection of modern masters - from Warhol and Rauchenberg to Kiefer and Hirst - and exciting temporary exhibits from new artists around the world, the Walker is rightfully proud of its outstanding reputation as a tastemaker and discussion-starter.
The Walker has recently opened a new "tower" designed by the Swiss masters Herzog and de Meuring. They had to create additional space that would complement but not overwhelm the existing minimalist structure created in the early 1970s by Edward Larrabee Barnes. Maybe the Swiss architects were a little too respectful: if you ask me the Barnes building is bland and dull. You couldn't say that about the new cube, sheathed as it is in sleek silvery aluminum. They had to deal with a difficult site: the Walker overlooks roaring traffic from an interstate highway and a hectic thoroughfare.
The museum also houses two popular Wolfgang Puck establishments: an informal cafe in the Barnes tower, and an upscale restaurant (Cue) in the Herzog and de Meuron cube.
The art in this particular museum is rather odd....well everything about this place is rather odd right down to the eyeball wallpaper but if you're into arts & culture this is a nice day excursion. Every first Saturday is Family Free Day complete with special programs & events throughout the day. Our favorites are the open-air summer concert/picnics in the sculpture gardens which are right across the street. The sculpture garden is home to THE CHERRY SPOON which is a famous Minneapolis landmark. It's even featured on a local news stations weather report as a backdrop. There is also a greenhouse with a HUGE glass fish sculpture in it's center. It's a must see but good luck getting a picture of the whole fish...call me inept but I haven't been able to.
Its a great contemporary art museum. They just expanded it to there is even more to see. I'm always surprised when I tour it, so its an exciting experience. And I love the sculpture garden. Take a nice stroll around and play with the art. Look at it from all the angles, take part in it and enjoy a great view of downtown.
The Wlker Art Center has had a varied history, but since I knew it in the 1960s it has been a place for the latest art movements to find a place to be displayed. Now the new addition to the modernist brick building has been finished and just opened.
You may not like the art, but the building is worth the visit. Please see the travelogue on this page for more pictures of the new addition.