Monday, June 01, 2009


Richard Lacayo has a good piece in the current Time on how the recession is affecting museums and other arts organizations. The whole thing is worth reading, but some highlights:
  • "Endowments have shrunk everywhere, and sizable budget cuts have been the rule at museums in Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Diego."
  • "In Michigan, where the struggling Detroit Institute of Arts recently laid off 20% of its staff, the 2010 budget proposed by Governor Jennifer Granholm would cut arts funding to exactly nothing."
  • "In April the [Art Institute of Chicago] ... announced plans to increase admission for adults from $12 to $18 .... In response, Chicago alderman Edward Burke threatened to end the museum's city-supplied free water. Eventually a compromise was reached: the institute would charge out-of-town visitors the full amount, but Chicagoans would get a $2 discount." (I mentioned this controversy here.)
  • The federal stimulus package includes $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). "President Obama has also proposed increasing the NEA budget next year by $6 million, to $161.3 million. ... But at the same time, arts groups are worried about what they see as a serious threat to their donor base: the White House proposal to reduce as much as 20% the tax deduction that higher-income families can take for charitable contributions." (I've mentioned that serious threat a number of times, including here.)