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Matt Checkowski

CEO & CCO
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Randi Feinberg

Executive Producer

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Question Everything Walker Art Center at 75

Our Role

Research, Strategy, Concept, Video

For the Walker Art Center’s 75th anniversary, we embraced their multidisciplinary approach to artistic expression to develop a campaign platform called Question Everything.

In the beginning...

Where do you begin when tasked with creating a brand statement for an institution whose own story has intentionally been secondary to the art and artists it celebrates? What does it mean to be more than a museum? What is an arts center? Are the questions more important than the answers?

The Walker is a catalyst for artistic expression with a global, multidisciplinary, and diverse approach to the creation of art. Their anniversary provided an opportunity to celebrate its value to the Minneapolis public and its influence on art institutions around the world. Since its opening, the Walker has been a thought leader in the space, serving as an art center —not just a museum— rooted in their belief that art can do more than simply hang on a wall. The Walker’s exhibitions inspire engagement across a wide array of media, from a sculpture garden to performance, music and film, and their model has been emulated by the likes of MOMA, MOCA, and more.

and then,

To better understand the organization’s personality, we spent time in the Walker archives going through everything from letters to photos to images of live performances to videos of events and news coverage about their shows.

 

The treasure trove included the likes of Werner Herzog’s Minnesota manifesto on documentary filmmaking (below), and an introductory letter sent to the Walker by a young, unknown artist we would later to come to love as Tom Waits (below.) If the Walker brand was an accumulation of 75 years, we came to understand the personality of the organization through the kinds of art and artists it had supported since its inception.

Our campaign concept began to take shape as we discovered that the Walker was founded on a question to the people of the twin cities:

“A community center for art… shall we take it?”

WALKER ART CENTER, FOUNDING CHARTER

And that spirit was reinforced in their more recent mission statement, “Walker programs examine the questions that shape and inspire us as individuals, cultures, and communities.”

 

We also knew it was critical for the 75th celebration to not simply look into the past, but embrace the current moment, to reconsider, and look forward. We interviewed curators of architecture and design, education and public programs, moving image, new media, performing and visual arts. Each person we met with had a unique perspective on the “undefinable” organization.

“The Walker’s history of asking provocative and timely questions through the artists we present quickly emerged as the most authentic to our mission and the one with most creative potential to celebrate our 75th anniversary as a public art center.”

ANDREW BLAUVELT

CURATOR OF ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN, WAC

The only true constant over the years: Question Everything. This concept became the focal point from which we could engage all the parts of the Walker, from curators to key staff to board members to artists, and the conduit from which they could participate in defining the Walker at its anniversary moment. It became the organizational mantra, the title of our film, and paved the way for a larger campaign —produced by the Walker’s internal teams— that included outside advertising design, a microsite, public engagement project and an exhibition.

alas,

The platform of 75 questions and 75 related artworks empowered the organization to tell its story in a manner consistent with its history: through the creative expression of its artists. By mapping those questions across history, we were able to highlight an exceptional, multidisciplinary art collection, celebrate a dedicated social conscience, and publicize the positive, progressive impact the Walker is so proud of while staying true to their tone of voice.

 

WAC75-Website-1

The campaign launched with a website, an anniversary exhibit, an out of home campaign that spanned Minneapolis and St. Paul, and a film that played online and on screens around the Walker campus, including coming attractions before film presentations at the theatre and in the museum entryway.

 

So, what happens when you question everything? It sparks more questions and in turn ignites conversation.

“Asking questions has sometimes taken us to uncomfortable places, but it has also taken us to a place where growth and mutual understanding become possible. This is how we come together as individuals, artists, and community, so join us, and ask as many questions as you like.”

OLGA VISO, WAC MUSEUM DIRECTOR

EXCERPT FROM CAMPAIGN LAUNCH ANNOUNCEMENT

wac75-lobby-comp-copy

 

The campaign also picked up several press nods, including a piece from AdWeek, which hailed our “Question Everything” film “evocative” and “inspiring.”

the end.