Capital Campaign Press

Walker|West Receives Transformational $4 Million Gift for New Facility

St. Paul, MN

Media Contact:

Kathy Graves

Walker|West Music Academy today announced that Pat and Gary Sauer have made a transformational $4 million gift to make it possible for the organization to acquire and renovate a building in St. Paul at 650 Marshall Avenue.

The gift, given to Walker|West’s “The Power of Music to Heal Our Community” campaign, will support development of the new facility, which will include two performance halls, digital labs, larger rehearsal space, recording studio, administrative space, instrument storage, and safer parking and pick up/drop off options.

“This amazing gift not only allows us to move forward quickly on our plans, but it also will save us significant financing fees over the next ten years, which means we can invest more in our programming,” said Executive Director Braxton Haulcy. “We are deeply grateful to the Sauers for their vision, generosity, and love of community.”

Walker|West’s campaign will fund quality learning and performance spaces for African American and low-income students and families, as well as improved access to expanded programs for all ages. With the Sauers’ gift, Walker|West can complete phase one of the campaign in 2024, which includes acquisition, design, construction/renovation of all spaces in the building (except the large performance hall). Phase two of the campaign will fund construction of the large performance hall; expansion of programs to increase access for African American, low-income, and female students; partnerships for music education in schools to help close the educational opportunity gap; and sustainability for the organization to support its growth.

“We care about the Rondo community, and Walker|West is a beam of light here,” said Pat Sauer. “We have to make sure that beam stays bright. It’s so easy to get caught up in the doom and gloom of our world, but Walker|West is about hope and joy. There has been real pain in this community, and Walker|West is helping heal and bring back its vibrancy.”

About Walker|West

Walker|West Music Academy, founded in 1988, is one of the oldest community music schools in the nation established by African American musicians. Co-founded by Rev. Carl Walker and Grant West, the community music school provides affordable, quality instrumental and vocal music to students of all ages. Walker|West teaches all styles of music, including classical, but is especially well-known for teaching jazz, gospel, and other styles of improvisational music. Walker|West also offers frequent performances for neighbors, friends, and supporters.

To learn more about Walker|West’s “The Power of Music to Heal Our Community” campaign

Capital Campaign

Tell the MN Leg About the Impact of Walker|West

We need your help tell the MN Legislature about Walker|West

Walker|West could receive up to $5.4M through one time appropriation bills SF0674 (MN State Senate) and HF0869 (MN House) to use as a capital investment for our new facility. Securing funding for a new site is the cornerstone of our current capital campaign. The bill is likely to be voted on in February.

We could use your support to let the MN Legislature know about the healing power of music and the Walker|West Mission. Here’s what you can do:

When you have a moment give them a call, or send an email to tell them why you support Walker|West!

Talking points: Using your voice to tell the story of Walker|West’s Impact

Here’s why Walker|West is a great candidate for this capital investment

We want to make sure legislators hear about how our 35 year-old, culturally rooted and responsive community music school is doing the work to bring enrichment, healing, and academic support to our community through the power of music. 

With our strategic direction and capital campaign, we’re committed to youth music education access and building more community centered space for wider and deeper connection. As a MN Regional Cultural Treasure, we are engaging students and families close by (with lessons, and school residencies), around the nation, and even internationally (with virtual instruction, concerts, and other community partnerships)! 

We have the experience, expertise, and enthusiasm to continue bringing the benefits of music education to K-12 students and students of all ages –from infants to elders.

Learn more about our Capital Campaign and other ways to support:

See the MN House bill language here: HF 869 as introduced – 93rd Legislature (2023 – 2024)

See the MN Senate bill language here: SF 674 as introduced – 93rd Legislature (2023 – 2024)

Capital Campaign

Walker|West Announces Design and Build Team for Capital Campaign

Capital Campaign Updates

As part of our Power of Music to Heal our Community Campaign, we are are moving to a new space. More than just a building for lessons and performances we are seeking to build a destination and resource for our community. We have the design and build team in place to do just that. Read more about the team below!

To learn more about our capital campaign or to make your pledge or gift visit our Capital Campaign page.

Build Team: Noor Construction & Greiner Constructions General Contractors




Design Team: Locus Architecture


Project Manager. Designer Design Lead

Building & Facility Management Project Team