Despite cuts, museum reports “measures of success.”
The Walker Art Center balanced its $19.2 million budget for the 2013 fiscal year ended June 30.
That success, announced in its annual report released Wednesday, capped a year in which the contemporary visual and performing arts center eliminated eight staff jobs in March and made modest cuts to programs and operations.
The cuts trimmed the staff from 148 to 140 people, a move that also reduced operating expenses by about 3 percent. Still, the museum spent about $1 million more than it did the year before.
The report emphasized several nonfinancial “measures of success,” including six Walker-organized exhibitions, a half-dozen performing arts commissions, and 41 film and video premieres. The center added 80 pieces to its permanent collection. It also sent four exhibitions to nine U.S. cities, where they were seen by more than 190,000 people.
Nearly 75 percent of the Walker’s operating money —$14.2 million — came from contributions and endowment earnings. Money from corporations, individuals and foundations was the largest source at $8.2 million. The remaining $6 million came from the center’s $179.5 million endowment.
Spokesman Ryan French emphasized that the Walker had tapped just 5 percent of its endowment money averaged over the previous three years. That is the rule of thumb for prudent management of nonprofit endowments; following it is a point of pride for the Walker, which has balanced its budget for the past 32 years.
The remaining $4.7 million in earned income came about equally from museum admissions, services and programs. Of that total, general museum admissions, facilities rental, restaurant and shop proceeds brought in $2.4 million. Programs including exhibitions, films and performing arts events generated the remaining $2.3 million, of which roughly a third, $838,000, came from Rock the Garden, the summer music fest.
More than 570,000 people visited the Walker’s 16-acre campus, including the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which drew 316,592 people. The center’s galleries and programs attracted 264,244, almost exactly the same as last year. The season’s most popular exhibition featured self-portrait photos of Cindy Sherman, seen by 44,000 people.
The center’s membership stood at 6,389, virtually identical to the previous year.
Mary Abbe • 612-673-4431