Heads up art fans. Walker Art Center will raise adult admission charges to $14, from $12, on March 14, coinciding with the opening of a show of Edward Hopper's drawings and paintings. Costs for seniors 65 and over will rise to $12, from $10, and for students with identification to $9, from $8. The previous charges were in effect since November 2012.
Admission to the Walker will still be free to everyone on Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m. and on the first Saturday of each month.
"The adult admission of $14 is modest when compared to $20-$25 for other local museums and cultural institutions," said Ryan French, director of marketing and public relations in an email.
The Walker's general admission charge is the highest among metro area art museums. Admission to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts is free, although the museum frequently charges for special exhibitions like the current "Matisse" show for which tickets are $16 weekdays, $20 weekends. The Museum of Russian Art charges $9 admission. Both the Weisman Art Museum and the Minnesota Museum of American Art are free.
Between 60 and 65 percent of Walker visitors enter the galleries free, French said, because they come on free Thursdays or Saturdays or they use their ticket stubs for gallery access. Tickets purchased for films, performances or mini-golf games also admit visitors into the museum's exhibition galleries.
In the 2013 fiscal year, that free gallery admission would have amounted to about 160,000 people, or roughly 60 percent of the Walker's 264,244 visitors.
The museum's 6,400 members also get in free as do kids under age 18.
Admission charges at the Walker bring in between $350,000 and $450,000 annually, money that is used to help fund the institution's mission and programs, said French. The museum's finances are stable and there is no shortfall in the annual budget which was $19.2 million last year.
"The Walker is proud of its fiscal discipline having balanced its budget for 32 consecutive years," French stated. "Like other well-managed non-profits, we examine revenues and expenses regularly to make sure we're stewarding our resources responsibly."
Photo: Roy Lichtenstein sculpture returns to Walker Art Center in December, 2013. Star Tribune photo by Bruce Bisping.