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Indianapolis Museum Stirs Up A Hornet’s Nest

What the Indianapolis Art Museum did Friday has to fall into the category of major PR blunder. In a press release headlined “IMA announces new campus enhancement plan to improve visitor experience and financial sustainability,” it sneaked in the fact–in the ninth paragraph, no less–that: To build stronger relationships with guests, ensure quality programming through […]

No Other Word For It: Fundraising Failure

The Phillips Collection crowdsourcing effort, an attempt to raise $45,000 in a month to support a website abut Jacob Lawrence, has failed miserably. When the drive ended on Dec. 10, only $2,988–a mere 7 percent of the goal–had been pledged. And that took 41 supporters, for an average contribution of about $73. All of the […]

Rush Post: Financial Health Of the Arts Industry

Southern Methodist University’s National Center for Arts Research (NCAR), begun a few years ago, ,released a new bit of research today–“examining the financial, operating, engagement and staffing health of the U.S. nonprofit arts industry.” I confess I find much of its work a bit unsurprising. Do we really need research that shows, as this report […]

Barron’s Strange Report On Art Museums

Last weekend, Barron’s–the financial weekly–published a cover story on art museums. It’s a crazy salad of a piece, full of supposedly new thoughts that are actually old, composed with a strange tone that shifts throughout the piece, exaggerating in parts, and so on. It frequently cited net assets as a sign of wealth, which includes […]

Does Crowdfunding Work? Not So Far

Back on Nov. 6, the Phillips Collection sent me an email about a worthy effort: it had started a crowd-funding campaign for a micro-website about Jacob Lawrence. It would feature “unpublished interviews between the artist and museum curators in 1992 and 2000, including one conducted just prior to the artist’s death.” The point, obviously, was […]

Detroit: Time To Put Artists On The Spot?

Supporters of the Detroit Institute of Arts have been celebrating for almost a week now–it was last Friday that the court ruled in favor of the Grand Bargain, which buys freedom for the DIA. But with a catch: the museum still has to raise more than $10 million to reach its $100 million mandated contribution […]

Detroit: Someone There Is Listening

Remember the political ruckus over the pay packages in the last years for Graham Beal, director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Annmarie Erickson, his deputy? Local politicians threatened to repeal the millage tax, which is supporting operations at the DIA for the next ten years, because of it. Even though I thought that […]

Detroit Institute Addresses Compensation Complaints

A short time ago, the Detroit Institute of Arts responded to the criticism that has kept it in the news for the wrong reasons this week–and threatened to undermine support for the millage tax that provides $23 million on operating support each year. Board chair Edward Gargaro signed the statement, which said that “unfortunately misunderstandings […]

Mistake at DIA: A Pay-Raise Ruckus And A Solution

In the last two years or so, I’ve often praised the Detroit Institute of Arts for conducting itself in the right way–with respect to passing the millage and in how it has handled itself during the city’s bankruptcy. Now, though, it has made a major mistake–in terms of optics if not substance. And it may […]

Albright-Knox: Making The Case For Expansion

More than one museum has gotten into big trouble by expanding. But I’d bet the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo has a better case than most of them. And last week, the museum said it plans to go ahead with a major expansion. A little background first: I met Janne Siren, who was hired to […]

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