Thursday, February 26, 2009

PMA Woes

Facing a dramatic downturn in its endowment and waning city support, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is cutting staff, delaying exhibitions, curtailing programs, trimming salaries and — subject to city approval — increasing admission fees.

The cuts will bring the museum’s operating budget down by about $1.7 million to $52 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, and, the museum hopes, will stave off a deficit the following year forecast as high as $5 million.

The museum will eliminate 30 positions — about seven percent of the staff — in all areas, though no curators are being let go. Of those 30 jobs, 16 are layoffs of current personnel, with the remaining positions lost by not filling vacancies.

Senior staff will take salary cuts of between five and 10 percent, said interim CEO Gail M. Harrity yesterday.
Read the Inky report here.

Dobrzynski on the Art Fairs

The crowd was cordial, happily sipping from glasses of Champagne, white wine, and soda. Big collectors like Marty Margulies, Agnes Gund, Frances Bowes, Don Marron, and Helen Schwab roamed the art-filled aisles. As everyone walked around during the gala opening of the annual Art Dealers Association of America art fair in New York last week, they were smiling, laughing, pausing frequently to chat and to look at the art in the gallery booths.

What they weren’t doing, despite valiant new strategies by some dealers, was buying much art.
Read the Judith Dobrzynski report on The Daily Beast here.


A blow to the Greater DC area art scene... in the making... unless we all do something.

Arlington County Manager Ron Carlee has proposed the closing of the Ellipse Arts Center in the FY2010 recommended budget. This closing includes a complete budget cut of the Ballston, Virginia area Ellipse Arts Center facility rent, a complete budget cut for visual art exhibition programs and a complete budget cut for visual arts educational programs.

Cynthia Connolly, Ellipse Arts Center Manager & Curator, and LisaMarie Thalhammer, Ellipse Arts Center Education Programmer, are graciously but urgently asking for your written support in proving that Arlington County’s continued funding of the visual arts is a value to our community. Please consider writing a short statement in support of the Ellipse Arts Center program.

I hope you will take a moment before the end of the day tomorrow to send a note of support to Lisa. Please email Lisa Marie at with your supportive statement by the end of the day tomorrow, Thursday, February 26, 2009.

Please call with any questions or concerns at 703-228-1861. You can also contact Ron Carlee directly 703.228.3120, fax: 703.228.3218 or email Ron Carlee - County Manager at