Regional museums all over the country are facing funding crunches that are forcing layoffs and curtailed hours, Fresno is the latest city to see its museums pull back, according to the Fresno Bee:
The Fresno Art Museum this week is cutting its budget by a third, laying off a still undetermined number of its 15 employees and declaring furloughs for those who remain. The museum also is reducing the number of days it will be open.
Interim executive director Eva Torres said the museum had to cut $400,000 from its $1.2 million budget this fiscal year, which started July 1. The museum’s business offices, which had been open Mondays-Fridays, are now closed Mondays and Tuesdays. The exhibitions, which had been open to the public Tuesdays-Sundays, will now be open Wednesdays-Sundays.
While the community’s attention has been focused in recent months on the Fresno Metropolitan Museum and its inability to repay a city-backed $15 million loan on its downtown building, the Fresno Art Museum has struggled with the same bad economy that has hammered nonprofits across the country.
Meanwhile the Fresno Art Museum, which is substantially older than the Fresno Met, takes pride in its history and collection:
It calls itself the only modern art museum between San Francisco and Los Angeles. With its Council of 100, organized in 1986, the museum was one of the first in the country to create a program featuring the work of important women artists. The museum’s permanent collection includes a large inventory of pre-Colombian works and collections by such artists as sculptor Robert Cremean. Recent notable touring exhibits that have visited include a 2006 show devoted to Armenian artist Arshile Gorky and an exhibition of work by Maynard Dixon that closes Sunday.
Jobs Cut, Hours Reduced at Fresno Art Museum (Freno Bee)