After ten years at the museum, Olga Viso will step down as executive director of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis at the end of 2017. The museum’s board has now established what it is calling an Office of the Executive Director that will fulfill Viso’s duties while the museum searches for a new director. That office will include the Walker’s chief advancement officer, Christopher Stevens; its chief financial officer, Mary Polta; its senior curator and director of exhibitions management Siri Engberg; and its director of human resources, Rishi Donat.
Viso’s tenure at the museum saw the completion of a $75-million capital campaign, an enlarged budget, and a series of acclaimed exhibitions, among them a 2017 Merce Cunningham survey (in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago), a 2015 survey of international Pop art, and a version of a traveling Jack Whitten retrospective. Over 5,000 artworks entered the Walker Art Center’s collection in her time there, and the museum’s endowment grew.
One of the most recent—and one of the most dramatic—changes at the museum under Viso’s leadership was the redesign of the Walker’s campus and the expansion of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which showcases large-scale outdoor works from the Walker’s collection. That work was completed earlier this year. The museum estimates that nearly 600,000 people have visited the garden since its reopening, seeing works by Vo, James Turrell, and others.
Monica Nassif, the board’s president, said in a statement, “We are grateful for Olga’s leadership and celebrate her significant contributions to the Walker Art Center during the past 10 years. . . . We wish her well for her next career opportunity.”