The Minneapolis Institute of Art finished a difficult year in the red for the first time since 1992.
The museum reported a $1.23 million shortfall for the fiscal year that ended June 30, on total operating revenue of $33.6 million.
Revenue was down $2.4 million from fiscal 2019, when Mia finished with a small surplus — a typical result for the museum.
The loss would have been greater if not for a Hennepin County tax levy that provided $14.5 million to Mia in fiscal 2020, nearly $1 million more than the previous year. (That support enables the museum to offer free admission and other programs.)
Kris Davidson, Mia's head of finance, pointed to significant drops in both earned revenue and contributions.
The museum was closed for the final 3½ months of the fiscal year, which contributed to a 42% drop in earned income, to $3.3 million.
"That impacted our ticket sales for shows, retail, parking, events — any special programs we had going on," said Davidson, noting the April cancellation of "Art in Bloom," Mia's popular springtime event.
Donors also gave less, she said, as contributed revenue fell 21% to $8.4 million. But the museum was able to draw $6.7 million on its endowment, up $724,000 from the year before.
Davidson said the museum had planned for a slower year after record-setting attendance in fiscal 2019, thanks to the blockbuster show "Egypt's Sunken Cities" and the Indigenous women exhibit "Hearts of Our People." Mia had projected a $34.4 million budget for fiscal 2020 — roughly comparable to fiscal 2018.
It's being even more conservative in the current year, with a budget of $29 million.
"We feel cautious but positive," Davidson said. "The market is up … but there are a lot of unknowns at this point. We have to see how the vaccine rolls out, and when and how we are able to open again."
The museum was closed by state order in mid-November after reopening to limited audiences in July.
Mia's financial report does not reflect $3.56 million in federal PPP loans it received last spring, allowing it to pay staff through June 19. The museum subsequently cut 16% of its staff on June 23. Seventeen took voluntary buyouts while 22 were laid off. Mia's leadership took a 15% salary cut from mid-March through September, while pay was frozen for other nonunion staff.
It was a rough start for the museum's new executive director, Katie Luber, who took over in January just as the coronavirus was spreading to the United States.
But despite the pandemic, Mia increased its membership to 58,820, up 6,718 from the previous year.
The slower year did help the bottom line in one way — exhibition expenses dropped 55% to $1.7 million. But the costs of security and maintenance actually increased slightly, to $9.9 million.
Special exhibits last year included "Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975," which drew 19,618 visitors, a reflection of normal attendance.
The traveling exhibition "When Home Won't Let You Stay: Art and Migration" opened just three weeks before the pandemic shutdown. Although it reopened in July for six more weeks, only 8,632 saw it. Overall, the museum had 416,471 visitors in fiscal 2020 compared with a record total of 779,973 the year before.
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