Walker Art Center achieves a balanced budget in 2012

  • Updated: December 20, 2012 - 6:07 PM

The museum drew a little more from its endowment to offset a slightly larger shortfall in fiscal 2012.

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Olivia Gibson, 4, creates a spider web with a light and various transparent materials during Free Saturday at the Walker Art Center Nov. 3, 2012.

Photo: Courtney Perry, Special to the Star Tribune

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Walker Art Center announced Monday that it had balanced its budget for the 2012 fiscal year that ended June 30 by tapping a bit more money from its endowment than it did the previous year.

It was the 31st consecutive year of balanced budgets for the Minneapolis museum.

Endowment funds covered 33 percent or $6 million of its $18.2 million cost of operations this year. That was up from 31 percent or $5.5 million in fiscal 2011, when operating costs were just under $18 million.

The draw from its endowment amounted to 5 percent, the same as in fiscal 2011, said Walker spokesman Ryan French.

Contributions from individuals and corporations fell about $500,000 to $8 million.

The center's endowment investments dropped during the 12-month period from $170.7 million to $164.5 million.

As is typical of cultural organizations, most of the Walker's programs lost money, meaning that they cost more to produce than they generated at the box office. An exception was the popular daylong Rock the Garden music festival, which drew 11,000 people while earning $722,000, more than covering its $690,000 production costs.

Going beyond the balance sheet, Walker officials noted that 154,000 people visited the galleries last year; 110,000 attended events or visited the building, and 348,000 strolled through the Sculpture Garden.

In addition, the museum's staff organized six exhibitions, including the mammoth "Graphic Design: Now in Production" and a retrospective of paintings by Minneapolis artist Frank Gaard. The Walker commissioned 10 performing-arts events and staged five performance premieres as well as 20 film or video premieres. Its traveling exhibitions, including a retrospective by Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth, were seen by 47,000 people at six museum venues.

MARY ABBE

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