Moving from 'transactional' to 'relational' engagement

Moving from 'transactional' to 'relational' engagement

By Ryan French


Case study exploring how the team at Walker Art Center interpret and deliver on the organisation's mission, in an area where most tourism is local. Discover how shifting audience expectations and behaviours influence the Walker’s relationship with the public, and how they market their venue as an attractive destination.

It’s interesting that we are half way across the country – it is classically thought of as ‘flyover’ country. We only have three to four months of tourism a year so the bulk of our visitors are local. Minneapolis St Paul, the metropolitan area, has a population of about 3.2m people and we are about 6 hours from Chicago so we don’t even pull from there much. As a result, we do have some challenges as we don’t have any natural tourism built in.

The Walker Art Center is a multi-disciplinary contemporary arts centre with eleven galleries as well as performing arts, film, video, education programmes and the famous sculpture garden with the spoon bridge and cherry.

Whilst there are descending lines in institutional engagement it is increasing at the personal level and we wanted to capture that, moving from ‘transactional’ – thank you for your money, please come across our threshold – to ‘relational’.

Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2013