The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis laid off eight staff members today to resolve a long term budget gap.
The layoffs resulted from a half million dollar shortfall in the Walker’s budget. A Walker representative said the art center’s endowment dropped by 26 percent in the financial crisis of 2008. As interest from the endowment usually provides about 40 percent of the Walker’s annual income, this drop caused an unsustainable gap between revenue and expenses. The $500,000 represents about three percent of the Walker budget.
Of the eight people losing permanent jobs, five will continue as short-term contractors until they complete their current projects. The Walker will continue to limit its openings to seven or eight a year, and present slightly fewer performing arts events. The job losses represent about 5 percent of the total Walker staff.