By Alycia Anderson, Walker People’s Archive Intern
Photos of Devo performing at the Walker in ’78, a kid’s first swing on Mark di Suvero’s monumental Arikidea in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Keith Haring painting a mural in the Walker concourse, or the magical meeting of you and Lil’ Bub at the Internet Cat Video Festival last year. As the intern for the Walker People’s Archive (WPA), these are the photos and memories I’m after.
In honor of its 75th anniversary as a public art center, the Walker introduces the WPA, an online space for people to share pictures and stories which illustrate their relationship, be it long-term or fleeting, to the Walker. Like a virtual family photo album, the soon-to-be-launched WPA will compile your snapshots and accompanying captions into a dynamic archive with categories that grow and change along with the Walker community. We want to celebrate decades of exhibitions, weddings, performances, mini-golf games, and more through your eyes.
When sharing your photos, we’re interested in hearing about the the significance behind them. How does this awkward family portrait in front of the Spoonbridge and Cherry or Polaroid of a performance piece capture the spirit of the moment? What were you doing, thinking, remembering, or enjoying that day? How do you feel this experience, be it big or small, connects you to the Walker?
My own WPA moment came about during my first visit to the Walker. A college freshman on the verge of declaring myself an English major, my plans were derailed by the incredible sight of Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers. The exhibition completely gripped and inspired me — like Violet out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I felt myself turning Yves Klein Blue at the fingertips — and I quickly realized that, in both my studies and interests, Austen would happily be ousted in favor of Arbus and Rothko.
On my way out of the Walker that day I took a shot of a window, its perforated sheet metal and layered geometric shapes perfectly framing the beaux-arts architecture of the Basilica nearby. For me, the photo captures a massive shift in perception which the Walker directly facilitated; the museum and its collection became a frame through which I could view my surroundings anew.
To participate, stop by a WPA scan day (8/2, 11 am–2 pm; 8/7, 5–8 pm) with your hard copy photos, or look out for the WPA website launch later this summer in order to digitally submit content. Add your memories to the archive, read others’ stories, try your hand at capturing a mystery photo, and be a part of it all!
Need more incentive? A few standout photos (and their corresponding memories) will be displayed on billboards around Minneapolis, as part of the Walker’s 75th Anniversary celebration. Haven’t you always wanted to see yourself fourteen feet tall?