Walker Art Center

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Free Admission for Teens: Wells Fargo Pays It Forward

As the Walker celebrates the 14th anniversary of its innovative programs for teens, it is pleased to announce Wells Fargo Bank’s three-year commitment to offer free admission to teens year round. A leader in teen programming, the Walker has provided cultural institutions around the globe with a successful model for engaging young adults. From 1990–1992, with support from the Northwest Area Foundation, the Walker convened the Adolescent Think Tank, a group of educators, scholars, cultural leaders, and youth workers who envisioned new ways for cultural institutions to serve the needs of teens. Soon after, the Walker began developing programs specifically designed to connect young people to contemporary art and artists, and in 1996, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) was born. Supported over the last decade by the Wallace Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Best Buy Children’s Foundation, and Wells Fargo, the Walker’s teen programs model has been widely replicated by numerous other museums. “If I ever need an inspirational boost, I just attend one of the meetings of the Teen Arts Council,” says Walker director of education and community programs Sarah Schultz. “They’re a remarkably diverse group of independent-minded young people with the energy to make a difference.” Thanks to Wells Fargo’s renewed sponsorship, WACTAC will have the opportunity to expand its programming beyond the already popular slate of activities, and the Walker will offer free admission to teens.

Wells Fargo supports organizations working to strengthen communities. Through the efforts of team member volunteers, and charitable contributions and sponsorships, Wells Fargo shares its success within its communities by giving back to nonprofits and educational institutions that address vital community needs and issues. Wells Fargo is a long-time supporter of youth initiatives, and in addition to its support for Walker Teen Programs, it is the proud sponsor of the Minnesota State High School League, a voluntary, nonprofit association of public and private schools with a history of service to Minnesota’s high school youth since 1916. Wells Fargo also helps teens make smart, informed decisions about their finances through its Hands on Banking program. At handsonbanking.org, teens and others can get valuable information and learn how to take control of their financial futures.

“The Walker’s teen initiative is particularly close to my heart, as it began when I first came to the Walker nearly 18 years ago,” says Schultz. “I have had the joy of witnessing the powerful impact that contemporary art and artists have on the ways young people engage with the present and imagine the future. Not only are the teens transformed, but their presence, intelligence, and passion constantly changes and challenges the institution. Wells Fargo’s support makes so much difference.”

The 2010-2011 Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC)

Photo: Cameron Wittig