Walker Art Center

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Introducing… Nikki Kubista and Jenny Ryan

Why did you become Walker members?

We started going there in high school for the Dyke Night performances. Our suburban high school plays like Bye, Bye Birdie seemed a million miles away. We just figured, if the Walker does stuff like Dyke Night, what else might there be!?

What do you enjoy most about the Walker?

The performing arts season. If you ever run out of things to talk about, go see a show. We leave shows with our heads filled with ideas.

Do you have a favorite memory about something you’ve seen here?

Nikki Kubista

The Diane Arbus exhibition. I had never heard of her. I wandered around every corner, just staring at her photos. I don’t think I said a single word to Jenny while we there. I left feeling like we had just been let in on a secret way of seeing the world.

Jenny Ryan

Seeing Daylight (for Minneapolis), a Walker-commissioned dance piece by Sarah Michelson. It was 2005, the first show in the new McGuire Theater. We were surprised, as were many, that we were seated on the stage on bleachers instead of in the seats behind us. We couldn’t see all of the performance, and it became clear that we were the performance. As we walked out, raving about how wonderful it was, we met up with a woman on the corner who lamented that she wished she had gone to the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra that night instead. We still laugh about that one!

What do you appreciate about your Walker membership?

The Walker creates experiences that we can take home with us and that connect with our lives. Nikki got a poster of The Nightmare of George V—a giant sculpture by Huang Yong Ping from his 2002 retrospective— and she still has it up in her office. She thinks it’s the story of her life.

How would you talk about the value of Walker membership to someone thinking about joining?

Half of the time we leave making up our own endings to shows we’ve seen or adding our own flourishes to the art we’ve experienced. The other half of the time we leave awestruck. No matter what, we are engaged in an international community of artists who add meaning to the world.

Nikki Kubista and Jenny Ryan

City of Residence: St. Paul
Membership level: Dual
Members since: 2002

Photo: ©Walker Art Center