November 2, 2008

WSJ on Museums and the "new" economy

The Wall Street Journal has a very good analysis of the effect of our current economic problems on art museums, particularly on building projects.  A few quotes:
  • Pressure to expand museums comes from shortsighted donors with an "edifice complex," says Scott Black, a trustee of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and chairman of Delphi Capital Management. 
  • . . . museum directors say they are actually potentially much more nimble than the cash-strapped orchestra or local theater might be because they have such diverse sources of revenue -- membership income, facilities rental, donations, endowment, admissions and gift-shop sales.
  • The Parrish . . . museum will not break ground until 80% of the target amount is reached through donations. "A decision was made not to take a mortgage" to raise the financing, she says, and now she's glad there isn't one.
  • Meanwhile, the High Museum's Michael Shapiro is thinking far in the future. "We're putting a lot of energy into planned giving, into bequests," he says. In the meantime, the High's annual wine auction is coming in March, and the museum is beefing it up and hoping for record results. People may want to drink more wine in a recession, the director says.

Good stuff all around.

No comments: