Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2014–2015: Senior Curator, Design, Research, and Publishing
2009–2014: Chief of Communications and Audience Engagement
1998–2010: Design Director and Curator of Architecture and Design
2009–2015: Museum Building and Sculpture Garden Expansion Team
1999–2005: Museum Building Expansion Visitor Experience Team
The Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary contemporary arts museum located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Featuring visual arts, performing arts (theater, dance, music, performance), moving image arts (cinema, video), and architecture and design, the Walker explores the leading edge of artistic practices across disciplines and between media.
In 2009, a new collaborative division was formed among the museum's design, education, new media, and marketing departments to develop large-scale institutional initiatives to broaden and diversify audiences and deepen civic engagement. The resulting Audience Engagement and Communications team included the leadership of the departments of Education and Community Programs, New Media Initiatives, Marketing, Public Relations, and Visitor Services; and Design, Editorial, and Publishing. The division incubated many successful and influential experiments in new forms of visitor participation and community engagement, including the multiyear initiative, Open Field.
After the museum's 2005 expansion, an empty green space next to the museum was left unoccupied for future expansion. Learnings from successfully programming the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which sits across the street from this site and is operated in partnership with the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Department were applied to Open Field. The initiative embraced a broader definition of curatorial practice, beyond the confines of museum curation, extending into non-programming departments of the museum and importantly to the general public as well as to artists whose practice engaged society directly. People were prompted with the question, "What would you do in an Open Field?", leading to a variety of unexpected public programs. The initiative shifted public perception of the museum from an inward and somewhat isolated institution to one engaged with the civic role it could play in the life of the city.
In the realm of communications, the team successfully reimagined the Walker's collections research and website and social media strategy. Fueled by the team's white paper, "Expanding the Rules of Engagement with Artists and Audiences," the Walker began an interdisciplinary focus on the collection and acquisition of non-traditional genres, such as performance and moving image works, particularly as artists were moving more fluidly between the gallery, the screen, and the stage. The Living Collections project, funded by the Getty Foundation, sought an online solution to the challenges posed by the conventional printed collections catalogue. Works from a variety of disciplines on a common theme were researched and the resulting scholarship activated through rich media content such as video and archival documentation. Simultaneously, the museum's website was reimagined as a publishing platform harnessing and synergizing existing content streams throughout the organization and building new ones. Like a news website or digital magazine, the editorial voice of the institution was clarified and made personable rather than institutionally neutral. Multiple voices were centered through the commissioning of writings by outside critics and artists as well as the aggregation of contemporary art news stories, linking the Walker to a global dialogue on the arts. The resulting website was awarded Best Museum Website and Most Innovative Website in the same year by Museums and the Web.