St. Paul, MN
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.”
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