Head of Public Engagement, Learning and Impact

Walker Art Center




Program Management


MN - Minneapolis metropolitan area

About the Organization

The Walker Art Center is an adventurous organization with a world class collection and a history of bold and dynamic programming. Embracing its position as both a global leader in the contemporary art field and as a cultural anchor in the Twin Cities, the Walker is a welcoming forum for engaging with critical issues through all forms of cultural production. The Walker fosters collaboration and experimentation across disciplines including visual art, performing arts, moving image and design and creates connections between the creativity of artists and the lived experience of our audiences and communities. Approximately 750,000 people visit the Walker and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden annually.

For more information, visit https://walkerart.org/.

About the Position

The Head of Public Engagement, Learning, and Impact will be a key leader at The Walker Art Center, with the ability to develop strategies in line with the institution's vision and strategic plan that extend and enhance the evolving relationship between the Walker and its diverse constituents. Through programmatic content development and interpretation, the role is focused on providing compelling reasons for audiences to engage with the museum onsite, offsite, online and through outreach, education, and public programs. The role is also responsible for building public trust in the institution by developing and implementing strategies that demonstrate the Walker's community investment as well as making recommendations for how these initiatives are communicated to the broader public. In addition, the role is responsible for overseeing visitor experience and public-facing staff by developing and managing a cohesive, customer-focused approach to facilitating the engagement and enjoyment of museum visitors.

This role reports to the Executive Director and works in close partnership with the Chief Curator and Head of Content and Communications taking a holistic, long-term view of all Walker programs. They will build and manage a team towards impact, working with other members of leadership to set the tone for the Walker Art Center's next iteration as an institution.

Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

Public Engagement and Community Development

  • Support an integrated, innovative, and collaborative approach and strategy to programming to extend and enhance the evolving relationship between the museum and its diverse audiences.
  • Develop the long and short term goals and policies to engage the public in a manner that supports the Walker's vision; including the development of an integrated public engagement plan that meets agreed artistic, audience and customer service objectives.
  • Lead the creation and implementation of audience broadening and visitor experience strategies aligned to the museum's vision to make the museum a preferred destination for diverse audiences.
  • Create strategy for the onsite visitor experience, from planning-the-visit and in-gallery learning to data capture, evaluation and ongoing relationship management.
  • Oversee the leadership and management of the Visitor Experience team to ensure the effective delivery of exhibitions, events and public programs in alignment with audience and visitor experience strategies.
  • Act as a liaison for external civic projects and community-based initiatives that support the Walker's strategic goals, and represent the Walker's educational mission to local, regional, and international communities.
  • Integrate and analyze Walker audience and visitor data for both onsite and online content and programming, working in partnership with leadership across the institution in identifying trends and opportunities.
  • Propose and implement museum-wide initiatives that support strategic community investment.
  • Actively build and foster strong connections with other arts and culture organizations and pursue collaborative partnership opportunities in the Twin Cities, nationally, and internationally.

Learning and Interpretation

  • Oversee the development of learning opportunities and scholarship that expand our understanding of contemporary art's contribution to and impact on the public sphere.
  • Work with senior program leaders to develop colloquia, convenings, and online platforms related to Walker programming that advance and deepen the institution's commitment to multidisciplinary scholarship locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Encourage institutional dynamism/vitality/energy through the creation of learning experiences that help to identify and develop diverse and responsive audiences and attract their participation onsite at the Walker's 16-acre campus as well as on online platforms.
  • Lead the creation and implementation of audience development, public engagement and interpretation strategies aligned to the museum's vision to support an integrated and innovative approach to programming and marketing public and education
  • Lead initiatives that introduce new modes of participatory engagement and collaborative learning into aspects of interpretation, design and wayfinding.
  • Oversee the Director of Lifelong Learning.

Organizational Leadership

  • Serve as a member of the Senior Leadership team to provide advice and counsel on broader strategic issues for the institution. Contribute to organizational planning, processes and protocols. Work with the Chief Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs to establish priorities for the institution.
  • Direct the short-term and long-range planning for the PELI Departments in accordance with the organizational strategic plan and priorities.
  • Increase revenue by working collaboratively with Senior Leaders to achieve the effective delivery of exhibitions, events and public programs.
  • Lead and oversee research projects that keep the museum abreast of lifestyle, consumer, community and visitor trends and ensure visitor insights and findings are integrated into the museum's strategic and annual plans.
  • Ensure high-quality and efficient processes of program assessment and evaluation methods throughout the organization.
  • Shape and contribute to key reporting that aids decision making and operations including to funders, government, board, and the annual report.
  • Be a key fundraising partner with the organization's Development team to identify grants and funding opportunities; establish relationships with funders; make presentations to granting agencies and businesses; write reports.
  • Support the integration and use of the Walker's enterprise planning, budgeting, venue management and CRM systems.

Candidate Requirements:

Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often only apply to jobs if they meet 100% of the qualifications. As no one ever meets 100% of the qualifications, we encourage you to apply if you feel that much of the following matches your experience:

  • 7-10 years in arts administration, education, or related discipline; ideally in the contemporary arts space.
  • Strong commitment to equity, access and inclusion evident in employment experiences and outcomes.
  • Demonstrated success in a senior role providing strategic advice in as many as possible of the fields of programming, audience engagement, education and public programs in order to meet artistic and audience objectives in a cultural or other not-for-profit organization.
  • Experience in leading program positioning and visitor experience management and its delivery and integration within a cultural or other not-for-profit organization.
  • Exceptional communication and negotiation skills, both written and oral.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage organizational change with experience in managing teams and staff at a management level.
  • Working knowledge of the arts, cultural institutions and current art museum practice.
  • Demonstrated creativity and innovation in developing and leading high impact educational programs.
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and manage complex budgets.
  • Successful record of collaborating with curators and other programmers, artists, and scholars to build engaging programs and initiatives.
  • Experience in cultivating the discourse and practice of the museum's role in the public sphere preferred.


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Compensation and benefits:

Salary and benefits will be competitive and commensurate with experience.

The Walker is committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace. Our goal is to be a diverse workforce that is representative, at all job levels, of the communities and audiences we serve. We are dedicated to fair and inclusive employment practices for all individuals.

On-Ramps is deeply committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We believe social change happens when people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and identities come together with a common purpose. We're partnering with the team at The Walker to build a diverse team and we encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.