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Kathy Halbreich

Visitors at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, May 15, 2010. Photo: Kate Lacey.

HAVING COME OF AGE IN THE 1960S, I’ve been unable to abandon a belief in a certain utopian imperative. But it was being at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center—a medium sized museum in the middle of the country, with an incredible historical legacy—that first provided me with a platform for thinking about how to materialize this imperative and, more specifically, for asking questions about what the social backbone of such an institution could be. When I became director in 1991, I began to work on joining the inside and the outside, beginning with efforts among the staff and then within the community.

First, I wanted to help people grasp the power of a flat organization governed by a shared mission. I wanted to see whether some of the class divisions within an institution could be erased, so that, for instance, the extraordinary people who worked in the basement—the

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