Brian Pietsch and his partner John Walsh are the newest members of the Walker Art Center’s Legacy Circle, a group of dedicated friends who have remembered the Walker by including it in their wills and financial plans. Since its founding in 1991, the Legacy Circle has honored individuals who have recognized the need to ensure access to the Walker for generations to come. Whether they bestow part of their estate, create a life income plan, or make one of a variety of other planned gifts, their foresight and generosity make a crucial difference in the institution’s future growth and vitality.
What makes the Walker Art Center unique to you?
Every time I come to the Walker, I see something new and am challenged to expand my thinking. Art is a great mirror and provides an interesting context with which to think about what is happening in the world.
What types of contemporary art and culture do you find most compelling?
I gravitate toward works that are a little gritty and of the moment. Seeing the artist’s hand and the fluidity of the creative process really excites me. I can also get lost in the beauty of a Richard Serra sculpture.
What role does philanthropy play in your life?
Both John and I were raised to think about our responsibilities to others and to the community, but honestly, giving back is simply a great joy. Few things are more rewarding than using strategic philanthropy to help leave the world a better place. It doesn’t matter whether you are giving millions of dollars or volunteering for an afternoon. Just make it meaningful to you and the rest will follow.
What motivated you to make a commitment to the Walker’s Legacy Circle?
As part of the Walker’s Collectors’ Council Acquisitions Committee, I see firsthand the importance of having funds to bring new works into the collection. It keeps the institution alive and relevant—not just a monument to the past, but a window to the future.
What advice do you have for others considering a planned gift to the Walker?
People tend to view planned giving as a great tool from an estate and tax perspective, but it’s more important to think of it as a way to help you leave a legacy. It can be so much more than just money: it’s a testament to what you stand for and the mark you want to leave. In that sense, it is entirely about who you are rather than what you have. Also, do it now. Having been in Japan during last year’s earthquake and tsunami, I realized that anything can happen!
Legacy Circle members are instrumental in helping to maintain the Walker as a leading presenter of contemporary art and culture—locally, nationally, and globally. To learn more about the Legacy Circle, please contact the Walker’s Development Office at 612.375.7562.