In May 2018, the Walker Art Center will launch Sensory Friendly Sunday (SFS), a monthly, free offering for individuals with sensory sensitivities and Autism Spectrum Disorders. SFS will be held on first or second Sunday of the month from 8am–11am, before the galleries open to the public. SFS will offer visitors the opportunity to make art together, explore the galleries, watch a short film, or relax in a different setting. The first Sensory Friendly Sunday will be Sunday, May 6.
This program aims to improve the Walker’s capacity to meet the needs of children, teenagers, and adults with sensory sensitivities, and their families, through this monthly, free, educational program. Over the past few months, the Walker has been working with a range of community partners to provide the Twin Cities with the first art-focused, sensory friendly program in a museum.
On these Sundays, the galleries will be closed to all other visitors, allowing guests to enjoy the museum in a calm environment. SFS is a drop-in program and features accommodations such as quiet spaces, noise-canceling headphones, and fidgets. The Walker will also provide a Social Narrative that helps visitors prepare for their experience, in addition to a Sensory Map which notes the location of extreme noises and lights and helps visitors navigate the building.
The Walker has consulted with community partners including the the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM), the Institute for Community Integration at the University of Minnesota (ICI), and the University of Minnesota’s Occupational Therapy Department. To develop the program’s structure, staffing, and educational materials, the Walker is consulting with a Community Advisory Group consisting of ten people who have relationships with, or are themselves, people with sensory sensitivities.
On May 6th from 8am–11am, the first day of the new program, visitors can explore the exhibitions Allen Ruppersberg and I am you, you are too; make a hands-on art project in the Star Tribune Art Lab led by a teaching artist, or watch a short film.
In order to provide an optimal experience and avoid crowds, families are encouraged to register ahead of time. Online registration will be available a month before each event. For more information, visit walkerart.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612.375.7610.
Convenient parking is available in the ramp ($5) or for free on surrounding streets. Metro Transit bus lines 4, 6, 12, and 25 serve the Walker. Bike racks and a Nice Ride bike sharing station are located on Groveland Terrace.
Esker Grove serves brunch 10 am–3 pm or bring snacks from home to enjoy in the Walker’s public spaces or the Garden.