The Walker Art Center’s second-in-command has resigned.
David Galligan, the veteran arts administrator who served as the Walker's chief operating officer from 1996 to 2002, then returned in 2013 to help lead the effort to develop a new Walker campus and renovate the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden renovation, is stepping down as deputy director and COO to become a consultant.
The decision was Galligan's, a Walker spokesperson said.
"David is talented and was a crucial partner to me during our major planning efforts with the new campus,” said Walker Executive Director Olga Viso. “I recruited him to help lead this major project which has been successfully completed. It is a great moment for him to make a change."
His last day is Aug. 11, but he will stick around through Sept. 8 to help with the transition. Others on the Walker team will temporarily pick up his responsibilities while searching for a successor. They hope to fill the post by year's end.
Asked to reflect on his tenure, Galligan said by email that “my accomplishments were inextricably bound up with those of the institution over the last 4+ years. So it goes without saying these are working with staff, trustees, community, the City and the Park Board to reconstruct the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, create the Wurtele Upper Garden and, with HGA Architects, the new Vineland Place entrance and Esker Grove restaurant.”
This was not Galligan’s first time around at the Walker. He served as treasurer and COO for 17 years, from 1985-2002, during which time he was influential in planning the Walker's 2005 addition and persuading the Minneapolis City Council to pay for a $25 million underground parking garage. He was also vital in pushing for online education programs, diversifying the museum’s financial support and balancing the budget. During his time at the Walker, he has worked with three Walker directors, Martin Friedman, Kathy Halbreich and Olga Viso.
Galligan’s work with arts institutions is well known in the community. Between stints at the Walker, he served as president/CEO of Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul from 2002-2006, Managing Director/COO of the Guthrie for three months in 2006, and strategic advisor at Jeffrey Slocum and Associates from 2007-2008 before becoming a management consultant for nonprofits and financial services. His clients make for an impressive cultural roster, and include the Wexner Center at Ohio State, Dance Theater Workshop (now Bill T. Jones' NY Live Arts), Virginia Commonwealth University (Steven Holl-designed ICA now under construction), and the University of Utah's Museum of Fine Arts, among others.
In April 2011, after striking it out on his own for awhile, he booked it out to L.A., becoming the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Los Angeles.
Galligan was present at the Dakota-led dismantling of the artist Sam Durant’s "Scaffold" earlier this summer, one of the largest pieces set to be a part of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
In an email to Walker staff that circulated last week, Galligan stated: “I look forward to returning to consulting work this fall, with an emphasis on interim executive management, resource development, strategic planning and non-profit governance.”