Teens get free gallery admission every day, all year long.
The Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) is a group of teen creators/advocates from all over the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The group meets weekly to learn about working at an art center, connect with contemporary art and artists, and create new ways for the Twin Cities teen community to experience the Walker.
WACTAC runs from September to June. Applications open each spring for the following fall.
Check out WACTAC’s Instagram page @walkerteens!
Click here for a free download of the Walker Art Center’s Museum Teen Programs How-To Kit, a publication offering a collection of reflections, conversations, and essays on cohort-based teen programs at museums paired with resources and instructions for applied activities. Featuring contributions from museum teen education professionals from across the United States, this publication created by and for educators is intended to be used as a tool for navigating the unique challenges of facilitating impactful creative youth development in museums.
WACTAC was founded in 1994 as a radical way to create space for teens and teen voices in the museum. Since its founding, WACTAC has made major contributions to the Walker and the Twin Cities art community as a whole. Over the years its members have developed exhibitions and events to showcase teen artists, invited resident artists to give talks and lead classes, developed marketing materials and strategies, written and published original work for print and online, planned regional film festivals, and partnered with local groups to present programs throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul. Teen programs bring a special vitality to the Walker, and these experiences have helped alumni attain scholarships and audiences for their work, secure curatorial and educational positions, and use their organizational and arts advocacy skills in their colleges and home communities.
As the first program of its kind, WACTAC has gone on to inspire teen councils at art museums across the country. Some WACTAC alumni have gone on to help launch and run teen programs and teen arts councils at other museums, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
More than 20 years later, the Walker remains committed to creating meaningful and relevant arts experiences for teens and continues to explore ways to configure and refresh this core program. WACTAC works with new artists and staff members at the Walker annually.
Over the years, the program has forged close working relationships with over other youth arts organizations and groups within the Twin Cities. The Walker Art Center remains a leader in innovative youth programming, providing cultural institutions around the world with a successful model for engaging teens and young adults.