Minneapolis Institute of Art announces layoffs as it cuts $4M from budget

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a toll on museums and attractions across the state.
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The Minneapolis Institute of Art has announced that 39 jobs have been cut through a combination of layoffs and voluntary separations on Monday.

The acclaimed Minneapolis museum says it's facing "unprecedented financial difficulties" as a result of the economic downturn and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and needs to cut $4 million from its 2021 budget.

As a result, MIA says that 17 employees took a voluntary separation package, while a further 22 were laid off.

Furthermore, all non-union staff will see their pay frozen, while the museum's leadership team have taken a 15 percent salary cut.

The museum says it's expecting its financial woes to continue for the next 12 months and beyond.

"Few decisions are harder than one that involves reducing our dedicated staff,” said Katie Luber, Nivin and Duncan MacMillan director and president.

"We pursued numerous options to save as many staff as possible and are grateful to have received a PPP loan as part of the CARES Act, which allowed us to pay all staff through June 19, during the museum’s closure.

"We have also carefully evaluated whether there are untapped sources of revenue or new fundraising opportunities that could help alleviate the need for further cuts, but this has not been possible. We are deeply saddened by this very difficult situation and are grateful for our staff’s contributions and their dedication to serving our visitors."

The museum is planning to reopen to the public in mid-July following a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions in Minnesota, but says it expects its visitor hours will be reduced by 43 percent.

The cuts at MIA follow layoffs seen at arts venues across the country, including Minneapolis' Guthrie Theater, which last month laid off 79 percent of its staff amid a major reduction of its performance schedule.

Walker Arts Center also making layoffs

The Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis has followed MIA in making cuts, announcing Tuesday it is laying off 33 part-time staff in total.

Of those, 15 workin the Walker Shop and Visitor Services, with 18 of them part-time gallery assistants.

"I know this is difficult news for everyone to hear and most difficult for those who will be leaving the Walker.” said Executive Director Mary Ceruti. 

"The reduction of our hours, programs and operations was determined through a complex process as we took in information from medical and public health experts, economists, staff, colleagues, artistic partners, and our audiences."

The museum is set to reopen its doors on July 13. It says it is projecting a $5.7 million drop in revenue this year.

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