Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Art Close Year of “Learning” Books


After a pandemic that resulted in closings, layoffs and budget cuts, the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Walker Art Center completed their exercises in the dark.

It has been a year of reopening, pivoting to outdoor events, navigating indoor spaces while enforcing limited capacity rules, and many other firsts.

“The seismic shock wave has been felt around the world, in the cultural sector, in our communities and in our personal lives,” said Walker’s Executive Director Mary Ceruti. “In addition to the many losses, there has been invaluable learning that has led us to new types of thinking and new ways of connecting, with one another, with artists and with audiences. “

The Walker fell in the dark with net operating income of $ 12,000 in the fiscal year ended June 30, thanks in part to $ 2 million from the federal wage protection program. It also drew $ 5.9 million from its investment endowment, up from $ 5.4 million in fiscal 2020.

The pandemic saw overall revenue drop 11% to $ 16.3 million, museum admissions, rentals, merchandise and food sales down 36%, and programming revenue down by 28%. At the same time, the Walker reduced its operating expenses by almost $ 2 million.

Meanwhile, the Minneapolis Institute of Art rebounded from a budget deficit of $ 1.2 million in 2020 – its first loss in 27 years – to end the fiscal year ended June 30 with a surplus of $ 3 million.

Relief funding from the Federal Cares Act was a big factor, but even without that money – much of which was earmarked for infrastructure and other future uses – the museum would have managed a surplus of $ 370,115.

While the museum lost revenue in areas such as program activities, which were down by around $ 1 million from $ 2.6 million, cost-cutting measures slashed by 17% Mia’s operating expenses.

In addition to the staff cuts, “people were working remotely, conservatives and individuals couldn’t travel as they normally would, and we cut public hours,” said Kris Davidson, Mia’s chief financial officer.

The museum also saw an 8% increase in government support, not counting the $ 5.7 million in Federal Cares Act funds. Most of that came from the Park Museum Fund, a century-old Hennepin County tax that provides public support in return for free admission to the museum.

Despite a drastic drop in Mia attendance – to 98,180 compared to 416,471 in fiscal 2020 and 779,973 the previous pre-pandemic year – the number of members increased slightly, to 59,450.

Museums took advantage of this time to innovate, leveraging their digital platforms to present virtual programming. Walker’s digital and virtual experiences have been viewed, downloaded or accessed over 36,125 times.

The two museums have also broken new ground with outdoor programming, especially during forced COVID-19 shutdowns. Five works from Mia’s permanent collection have been reimagined as ice sculptures – those by Salvador Dalí “Aphrodisiac Phone” landed at Boom Island Park, while The “Veiled Lady” by Raffaelo Monti revealed itself at Longfellow Park.

As the weather warmed and his forties changed, the Walker launched outdoor concerts on his hill, including jazz concerts, dance performances, poetry, and more. A rain garden and urban farm took root in a wasteland in northern Minneapolis as part of a Jordan Weber artist residency, becoming a healing space following the death of George Floyd.

Despite being closed for nearly three months, the Walker was able to open two major exhibitions delayed by the pandemic: “Designs for Different Futures”, co-organized with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, and “The Paradox of Stillness “, organized by the Walker.

Le Walker also spent the year drafting a five-year strategic plan that was approved last month by its board of directors.

“As we embarked on strategic planning over the past year, amid a pandemic and a long overdue racial calculation, we have focused on our work, sharpening our focus on the best possible ways. to accomplish our mission and affirmed our commitment to equity. and inclusion, ”Ceruti said.

Looking ahead, Mia has a full schedule of exhibitions planned for the coming year and plans to resume in-person tours in April. The highly anticipated “Supernatural America: The Paranormal in American Art” exhibit – purportedly the first exhibit to investigate artists’ relationships with the supernatural – will begin to haunt Mia on February 19.


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