Walker Art Center

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Music and Dance: A Trio of Sponsors Walks the Walk

Thanks to the remarkable support of three sponsors, the 2011–2012 performing arts season lineup is one of the boldest in Walker history, featuring a host of newly commissioned works, world and Minnesota premieres, US debut tours, mini-festivals, exclusive engagements, and unique collaborations—as well as the farewell performances by the legendary Merce Cunningham Dance Company in November. We asked representatives from Best Buy, FICO, and Gray Plant Mooty why they back these cutting-edge performance events at the Walker and which programs they are most excited about.


“Music is a universally understood language and the Walker’s performing arts curators speak it fluently. I always look forward to hearing the performers featured at the Walker, and I am particularly excited about the opportunity to see Staff Benda Bilili; Vijay Iyer, in a two-day mini-festival featuring four of his projects and groups; the 802 Tour spotlighting Nico Muhly, Sam Amidon, Doveman, Nadia Sirota, and others; and FUTURITY, a musical by indierockers the Lisps. And these are only a few! I really can’t pick a favorite. The Walker truly brings the world’s music to the Twin Cities. It broadens my interest in music and helps bring a more global perspective to all that I do.”

—John R. Thompson, senior vice-president and general manager, Best Buy.com, and Walker Art Center trustee


“Innovation—true innovation, not the buzzword—is a precious and marvelous thing. In the business world, this is what enables a company to be relevant and valuable to its customers, employees, and shareholders now and over an extended period of time. Artistic innovation can be even more profound and enduring. The sort exemplified by the work of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company prompts us to explore the questions that give meaning to our life and work—questions that represent a sort of higher-order relevance and value. If, as Jones has said, art-making means participating in the world of ideas, it would explain why we at FICO are especially proud of our sponsorship of the Walker Art Center’s dance season. By supporting such artistic innovation, we can extend our own participation in the world of ideas. We, too, can make art.”

—Mark Greene, chief executive officer, FICO, and Walker Art Center trustee


“All of us at Gray Plant Mooty are pleased to see our support of the Walker’s dance season come full circle with the upcoming celebration of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. As a sponsor since 2007, we were thrilled to welcome clients, colleagues, and friends of the firm to sold-out performances of Cunningham’s landmark Ocean at the Rainbow Quarry in 2008. We’ve watched the Walker’s dance productions grow in strength and ambition every year, and we are honored to be a part of the new season, which includes some of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final performances. As Gray Plant Mooty marks its 145th year, we appreciate the discipline, the stewardship, and the courage to innovate that are hallmarks of any longstanding organization. Please join us in supporting the Walker’s tribute to the groundbreaking and courageous Merce Cunningham Dance Company.”

—David Bahls, managing officer, Gray Plant Mooty