The New York Times identifies the growing trend among European museums of taking ads to fill operating budget gaps.
European museums are reeling from culture shock these days. Long reliant on government subsidies, they avoided the layoffs, salary cuts and ticket increases that struck American museums hard in 2009 when the endowments upon which they depend plunged with the financial crisis. But now European arts institutions are facing a squeeze too: government subsidies are falling and corporate donations have dwindled as the economic crisis spreads. The combination is forcing even the grandest museums to seek new revenue sources.
Some of the money-raising strategies are rather declassé for bastions of high culture, to the consternation of some in the arts world. In the Netherlands, the government will reduce arts spending by 20 percent — $269 million — over the next four years. The culture ministry has said that visitor head counts will be a factor in determining which institutions get money. In Madrid, the Reina Sofia Museum of National Art is getting a price break on utility bills in exchange for publicity for electric companies.
However, the bigger threat mentioned at the bottom of the article is that museums have begun to view the art they hold as a valuable asset to be loaned out for fees. Will this practice receive the same attention that de-accessioning has provoked in the United States?
‘This Space for Rent’: In Europe, Arts Now Must Woo Commerce (New York Times)