Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art announces job and budget cuts

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Nelson-Atkins. // Photo by Sarah Garten

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art says that it’s going to reduce its staff and budget as a result of the pandemic. The current plan is for the museum to cut its budget by 25%, to around $26 million, and reducing staff by 15%, or 36 positions.

The museum wasn’t open to the public from Mar. 14 to Sept. 12 and during this period, it lost revenue from event rentals, fundraisers, ticketing, the Rozzelle Court Restaurant, parking fees, and sale of merchandise, officials say. Annual attendance at the Nelson-Atkins is usually around 500,000 and while it’s open now, attendance is much lower than what’s expected, causing a drop in generating income.

“Any decision to reduce the size of the staff must be the last resort. The staff members of the Nelson-Atkins keep our institution’s mission thriving, and they ensure that the museum is a cultural treasure in Kansas City,” Richard C. Green, Chair of the Nelson-Atkins Board of Trustees, says. “Unfortunately, we are not immune to the same forces that businesses and other nonprofit organizations have faced during this difficult year. These steps are being taken to ensure the museum’s long-term sustainability.”

The museum depends on donations and its supporters have continued to be helpful. It was successful in securing a Paywall Protection Program loan and there were collaborations with donors to reallocate funds. Unfortunately, these steps weren’t enough to cover the lost revenue over the past six months.

“The museum’s mission, to bring art and people together, will prevail. Any decision that adversely affects staff is always the most difficult,” CEO and director Julián Zugazagoitia says. “But while our staff will be smaller and our resources more limited, we are fully committed to providing transformative experiences with the extraordinary art collection that defines this museum.”

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Categories: Art