The Dallas Museum of Art fired off 20 employees, or around 8% of the employees there. This occurred one month prior to a significant makeover, with an estimate between $150 and $175 million. The DMA sent a news release announcing the job cuts. The museum disclosed it created two full-time positions into part-time.
The Dallas Museum of Art’s Risks
The institution also disclosed that it created two full-time positions into declared new hours starting in December, including a Tuesday closing. The pandemic caused attendance reductions. However, the staff cuts raised concerns about the enterprise’s management and financial standing. “It’s hard to trust anything that leadership says right now”, one staff member who wished to remain anonymous.
“It feels like the people behind the jobs just don’t matter as much as the numbers”, the employee stated. The DMA’s overall worth increased from approximately $266 million in 2019 to approximately $276 million in June 2022, per the organization’s most recent financial disclosures.
However, the museum published declines in the foundation assets it made (an endowment fund is a particular kind of cash assets that museums keep). Additionally, there are net assets—money and equipment that the museum’s management of directors may spend as it sees fit—that are not restricted by donors. Regarding the latter, the DMA reported a shift of around $9.4 million due to operating costs in its balance sheet for 2022.
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Decrease in Tourists Visits Since 2019
“We did not have a deficit for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2023. However, in order to avoid future deficits and to create financial conditions that will be sustainable over the long term, we have made the difficult decisions necessary to realign our budget”, a spokesperson for the DMA said in an email responding to questions from Artnet News.
“The DMA was committed to keeping all staff throughout the most challenging times of the pandemic, and used government funds and significant private philanthropic support in order to do so. While the DMA has worked diligently to sustain this level of retention, with that funding gone, along with other financial challenges facing the entire arts industry, the unfortunate reality is that we need to make some adjustments to how we operate”, it adds.
Since 2019, the number of tourists to the museum has drastically decreased annually, with approximately 800,000 people visiting in person. When the epidemic struck in 2020, that number fell to roughly 635,000, and by 2022 (including virtual attendance), it was roughly 665,000. In its email, the museum stated, “Our attendance numbers are improving but have not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels”.