Taxpayer Funded Walker Art Center To Screen Ilhan Omar Documentary

The decision to promote a sitting legislator while receiving taxpayer-funded grants has received criticism from some.

Screenshot from

The taxpayer-funded Walker Art Center is hosting multiple screenings of a new documentary featuring the rise of state Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Norah Shapiro’s “Time For Ilhan” focuses on Omar’s rise to political fame since becoming the first Somali American legislator in the nation in 2016. The Walker Art Center, which receives government grants, scheduled five screenings of the documentary.

“Follow Omar and her team as they strategize her historic campaign—united in their belief of the power of true representative democracy—to become the first Somali American and first black Muslim woman elected to a state legislature in the United States,” the description reads.

Walker Art Center has praised the Omar documentary as “an ever-evolving story about a historic subject.” However, the decision to promote a sitting legislator while receiving taxpayer-funded grants has received criticism from some.

Omar herself has been a controversial figure, including rising questions surrounding her personal history and potential fraudulent marriage. Alpha News previously reported on Omar’s immigration history after Powerline Blog writer Scott Johnson indicated Omar may have engaged in marriage fraud. Extensive research has revealed Omar may have married her brother Ahmed Nur Said Elmi in order to aid Elmi in obtaining citizenship. Omar filed for divorce from Elmi in May of 2017, and research indicates he now resides in London.

The documentary does not include the questions surrounding Omar’s marriage to Elmi, and the Walker Art Center has not acknowledged the controversy in any of its promotions for the screenings.

The Walker Art Center receives part of its funding through the Legacy Fund which has a history of putting taxpayer money toward controversial projects. In 2008, the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment was approved, allowing the state sales tax to be increased by three-eighths of one percent. The additional revenue goes to five different funds supporting the environment and the arts. The Arts and Culture Heritage Fund, which the Walker Art Center receives a grant from, receives 19.75 percent of the increase in revenue from the Legacy amendment to “support arts, arts education and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage.”  

Watch the Walker Art Center’s trailer for the documentary below:

Christine Bauman
 | Website