Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art close the books on a year of ‘learning’ – Minneapolis Star Tribune

December 18, 2021 by No Comments

After a pandemic that resulted in shutdowns, layoffs and budget cuts, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Art Center finished their fiscal years in the black.

It was a year of reopening, pivoting to outdoor events, navigating indoor spaces while enforcing limited capacity rules, and many other firsts.

“The seismic shockwave was felt around the world, across the cultural sector, throughout our communities, and within our personal lives,” said Walker executive director Mary Ceruti. “Alongside the many losses, there was invaluable learning that led us to new kinds of thinking and ways of connecting, with each other and with artists and audiences.”

The Walker edged into the black with net income from operations of $12,000 in the fiscal year that ended June 30, thanks in part to $2 million from the federal Payroll Protection Program. It also drew $5.9 million from its endowment of investments, up from $5.4 million in fiscal 2020.

The pandemic led to a 11% drop in overall revenue to $16.3 million, with museum admissions, rentals, merchandise and food sales down 36% and earned income from programming down 28%. At the same time, the Walker cut its operating expenses by nearly $2 million.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Institute of Art rebounded from a $1.2 million budget deficit in 2020 — its first loss in 27 years — to finish the fiscal year ended June 30 with a $3 million surplus.

Federal Cares Act relief funding was a big factor, but even without that money — much of which was set aside for infrastructure and other future uses — the museum would have managed a $370,115 surplus.

While the museum lost revenue in such areas as program activities, which was down about $1 million from $2.6 million, cost-cutting measures shaved 17% from Mia’s operating expenses.

In addition to staff reductions, “people were working remotely, curators and individuals weren’t able to travel like they normally would, and we did reduce public hours,” said Kris Davidson, Mia’s head of finance.

The museum also saw a 8% increase in governmental support, not including the $5.7 million Federal Cares Act funds. Most of that came from the Park Museum Fund, a century-old Hennepin County tax that provides public support in exchange for free admission at the museum.

Despite a drastic drop in Mia attendance — to 98,180 from 416,471 in fiscal 2020 and 779,973 the pre-pandemic year before — membership rose slightly, to 59,450.

Museums used the time to innovate, leveraging their digital platforms to present virtual programming. The Walker’s digital and virtual experiences were viewed, downloaded or attended more than 36,125 times.

Both museums …….

Source: https://www.startribune.com/walker-art-center-and-minneapolis-institute-of-art-close-the-books-on-a-year-of-learning/600128193/

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