Walker Art Center Executive Director to Step Down

Olga Viso Photo: KSTP
Olga Viso

November 14, 2017 12:28 PM

The executive director of the Walker Art Center will step down from her position at the end of this year.

Olga Viso came to the Walker in 2008. A release Tuesday said Viso and the center's board of directors had agreed, following the completion of the Walker's $75 million fundraising campaign this year, that it marked "an ideal time for a transition."


During her tenure, the Walker built a new garden-facing entrance and restaurant, renovated the building's facade, added new gardens, as well as 20 new works of art.

RELATED: Walker Art Center to Dismantle Controversial Piece in Sculpture Garden

There was also controversy this past spring when a structure entitled "Scaffold" by artist Sam Durant was dismantled after an outcry from many in the Native American community.

It was a composite of seven different events in U.S. history involving capital punishment. One depicted the 1862 "Mankato Massacre," in which 38 Dakota men were executed, making it the largest mass execution in U.S. history. 

Viso apologized at the time, saying it wasn't her intent to disrespect anyone.

"I think we very much regret the pain and suffering the work is causing in our local community," Viso said. 

In the release Tuesday, board of trustees president Monica Nassif praised Viso for her contributions.

"We are grateful for Olga's leadership and celebrate her significant contributions to the Walker Art Center during the past 10 years," Nassif's statement read. "She led the organization through a major capital campaign to fund the vision and re-design of our entire campus, including the new Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

"In addition, she championed experimental and underrepresented artists throughout her tenure, while bringing many noteworthy exhibitions to the Walker, such as Merce Cunningham: Common Time, International Pop, and groundbreaking exhibitions like Adios Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950, one of the most comprehensive exhibitions of Cuban art to be organized in the US in decades and currently on view.  

"We wish her well for her next career opportunity. As we look beyond this transition, the Walker Board is focused on fully activating the new campus, proceeding as a global artistic leader, continuing our commitments to be a more inclusive organization, and being responsive to community perspectives and political realities of this time."


Frank Rajkowski

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