Walker Art Center to cut $1.1 million from budget

Walker Art Center to cut $1.1 million from budget
Photo andy weit

The Walker Art Center isn't invincible to a terrible economy. Do you feel guilty about going on Free Thursdays now and not making a donation? Probably.

The Walker Art Center plans to cut $1.1 million from this year's budget with salary freezes, furloughs and attrition, says the Pioneer Press.

Why aren't they doing so well? The arts organization has seen decreasing admission and contributions. It's endowment isn't doing well either: its value declined 23 percent between June 2008 and January 2009 from $197 million to $152 million.

More from the Pioneer Press:

The cuts for the fiscal year that ends June 30 are part of a two-year plan that will see the Minneapolis contemporary art museum reduce this year's budget by 5 percent, to $20.2 million. For the 2009-10 fiscal year, the Walker will contract its budget further, to about $19.3 million.

The Walker will leave seven staff positions open in a de facto staffing cut, and director Olga Viso will take a 6 percent pay cut this year and trim her salary and benefits by 7 percent next year. Though museum employees will be required to take unpaid leave between now and June 30, the Walker will avoid layoffs after a group of anonymous donors stepped forward with the funds necessary to avert job cuts, at least through the end of the fiscal year.

The Children's Theatre Company, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts also made cuts. The Guthrie is also expected to chop its budget for the next season.

Can these ginormous arts organizations survive the wretched economy? Will you still pay to go to the Walker?

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