Walker Recipe 7: Walker Dance Commissions on Archive

Organization Name: The Walker Art Center

City: Minneapolis

Program Name: Walker Dance Commissions on Archive

Time of Program: The program is offered at all times because it is available online.

Program When Elaborate: Not offered directly at a performance but is offered online in an archive on the Walker’s website.

Goal: This online program aims to archive historic dance and performing arts commissions to serve art historians, the broader public and performing artists. This is part of Walker’s effort to connect all programs through common audience engagement threads, focusing on developing scalable, replicable models to engage audiences before, during, and after performances.

Time of Year Offered: Year-round throughout the run of the season

Program Description:

Basic information about dance commissions throughout our presenting history are archived online on the Walker website. Rudimentary “tombstone” information, with a photo and links to blogs and/or a commission's online calendar page, currently makes up each entry.

Number of Participants: The archive is available for the general public online on the Walker’s website.

Target Audience: Overall target audience is generally a younger (under 40) tech-savvy audience drawing from the local communities and Walker's other artistic disciplines.

Private/Public Public

Nature of Audience Engagement: Audience members, as well as students, researchers, and journalists, can access and read or view this collection. Ideally they learn about the artists and dance forms, and can integrate their learning into research, publications, or their general knowledge about the art form.

Location: The Walker Commision Online Archive program is accessed and viewed online.

How Many Staff: 1 - 2 videographers tape the interview, edit, and make copies for the dancers, as well as prepare the interview to go online. IT and editorial staff helps get it online. Interns help keep the archive up to date as necessary.

Past Iterations: Over 200 commissions are listed in the Walker’s Online Archive.

What works? By archiving our historic dance and performing arts commissions online The Walker is able to serve art historians, the broader public, and the performing artists themselves. The Walker’s archive is not only a history of the performing arts events, but also a history of the rich online content that has been created surrounding each of these events, as each entry often features links to videos, articles, and blogs. It is an ongoing process to maintain these pages and add the information for new commissions. Keep in mind the staff capacity necessary to keep up such a database.

What doesn't work? The commissions information is easily buried within the calendar content and upcoming events featured on our current website. The redesign of the Walker website (rolled out Fall 2012) leveled these hierarchical issues with an interface that better balances past, present, and future events at the Walker.

Performances Where Offered: The Walker Dance Commissions Online Archive is essentially offered to all performances because all dance commissions are collected, preserved and archived online.

Past Research on Program: Walker’s EDA-related research included distributing surveys to measure differences in audience’s engagement with the performance, comparing those who participated in Walker’s array of EDA-sponsored activities versus those who did not participate with positive results for those who did participate in the survey. This research was across various types of events, so is not specific to the Walker Dance Commissions Online Archive. Participation in engagement activities—particularly post-performance, or a combination of post-performance and online activity, resulted in significantly stronger reports of impact (captivation, feeling challenged, emotional and spiritual resonance, connecting with the dancers on stage, connecting with the audience, and the impression left by the performance) compared to those who did not participate in any engagement activities.

Continuing Program? Yes.

Additional Comments:

The Walker, as a museum-based institution, values the collection, preservation, and interpretation of art as much as the creation and presentation of art. The performing arts commissions archive serves to highlight what would be considered a "permanent collection" in a visual arts program. In this way, we more fully support the work of a commissioned artist by drawing on their history with our organization. Note: This entry was taken from the Walker's Recipe Book for Audience Engagement, a product that their staff created during Round One of EDA. The full recipe book is available on the Dance/USA website (see EDA Audience Engagement Resource Library).

Resources & Links:

Please see the information about the Walker Art Center and its recipe book on the Dance/USA website
Read a profile about the project, and access related products, including the Recipe Book: http://www2.danceusa.org/walkerartcenter
See a resource guide about the project, and view videos from Walker staff about it: http://www.danceusa.org/edalearningexchangescontent

Target Audiences College Students Young Adults, 25-35 Seniors General Audiences Families or kid-friendly

Online Engagement Online

Ideas for Working with Young Audiences Instruction