Walker Art Center cuts $2 million from budgetby Euan Kerr, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis announced today it will cut $2 million from its budget because of the economic downturn.
The cuts will mean a reduction in programs, and staff members will each take a week-long unpaid furlough in the next few months.
There will be a wage freeze and seven vacant positions will remain unfilled. Walker Director Olga Viso says there will be no layoffs.
"We had some donors, who wish to remain anonymous, who made some very visionary gifts to prevent layoffs during this fiscal year and next," said Viso.
Like other arts organizations, the Walker has seen a drop in ticket sales and donations.
Viso said the Walker will also cut 10 percent to 20 percent of its programming budgets, but Viso says her staff is working to minimize the impact of those cuts where possible. She says the cuts represent a 9 percent overall budget reduction over two years.
Viso will return 6 percent of her salary this year and 7 percent next year. She says she hopes no more cuts will be required. But she says the Walker's endowment lost almost a quarter of its value in the second half of 2008, and a lot will depend on the speed of the financial recovery.