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Walker Art Center interns quit in protest of cuts to film, video program

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Three interns with the Walker Art Center's Film and Video Program resigned from their positions Wednesday in protest of the museum's recent cuts to the department, the Star Tribune reports.

In a public statement, Jeremy Meckler, Courtney K. Sheehan and Matthew Cole Levine reportedly accused museum management of "callous negligence" and "general disrespect towards a longstanding, talented, and loyal staff."

According to the Star Tribune, the interns spent a combined total of five years on the Walker staff.

The protest comes just three weeks after Walker director Olga Viso announced that the museum was cutting eight staff members in an effort to balance the museum's budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

Laid off from the Film and Video Program was manager Kathie Smith, while Dean Otto, the primary programmer, assumed Smith's administrative duties, the Star Tribune reported.

As the program moves forward, Otto and Film and Video curator Sheryl Mousley remain as the program's only full-time staff members.

The cuts to the Film and Video Program come less than a year after Edina-basedBentson Foundation gave the Walker a $1 million in June 2012 as a gift to extensively remodeled its theater.

Despite the upgrade, the theater's programming has been in a decline, and screenings have fallen by about 20 percent in the last five years, from an average of 170 to 140 a year, Walker director of marketing and public relations Ryan French told the Star Tribune.

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