Walker West Music Academy takes on expansion

  • Updated: March 27, 2014 - 4:30 PM
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Walker West Music Academy in St. Paul provides affordable music education to more than 125 students of all ages.

Photo: JOEY McLEISTER • Star Tribune file,

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Walker West Music Academy, a nonprofit music school in St. Paul, is expanding.

The 26-year-old community music school is undertaking a major renovation of the Mytana building, which was previously occupied by the St. Paul College of Visual Arts. The school will move into its new space, at 760 Selby Av., this June.

The new 5,938-square-foot facility will increase programming space by 61 percent. It will feature 10 lesson rooms, a performance space that holds up to 100 people, a music lab, a conference room and offices. The new space was designed by Cuningham Group and is being built by Welsh Corp.

The cost is $550,000 and, as of last week, about 70 percent of the money has been raised. Supporters include the city of St. Paul, Mc­Knight Foundation, St. Paul Foundation, Bigelow Foundation, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, 3M Foundation, Mytana Corp. and individual donors.

Walker West Music Academy says it “creates a music learning community rooted in the African-American experience,” particularly improvisational music, including jazz, blues and gospel. The school provides affordable music education to more than 125 students of all ages every week.

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