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Frye Art Museum Announces Second Round of Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Cuts

SEATTLE, WA.- This week the Frye Art Museum announced cuts to the Museum’s annual budget including staff layoffs, senior staff salary reductions, furloughs in summer, and decreases in budgets throughout the Museum including exhibition, education, and marketing program areas. These cuts, along with an earlier round of cuts in September, bring the Frye’s 2009 fiscal year budget from $3.9 million to $3.6 million.

“These are unprecedented times and the Frye Art Museum, like museums across the country, has been affected by the economic climate,” stated Museum Executive Director Midge Bowman. “Our investment portfolio, from which we receive 13% of our annual budget, has decreased and we must make these changes to maintain a balanced budget.”

The Frye Art Museum’s fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30. Last September the Museum undertook a complete review of the 2009 budget and in light of forecasted decreases in revenues eliminated an education program area and one related staff position.

“We have been working thus far this fiscal year with a decreased budget that we knew would be necessary, given our financial forecast last fall,” noted Bowman. “What we didn’t know at that time was the extent of the economic downturn. We are now making the necessary additional cuts needed that ensure the continuing stability of the Frye Art Museum this year and into the future.”

Budget cuts currently being implemented include a 10% reduction in senior staff salaries, the elimination of four full-time staff positions, two decreases in staff positions to part-time status, summer-time furloughs, and significant cuts in staff and program related budgets throughout the Museum. Essential aspects of the eliminated positions will be assumed by other qualified Frye staff. Staff furloughs are scheduled for nine consecutive Mondays beginning July 1.

The Frye Art Museum’s annual budget is supported by earnings from commercial real estate holdings and investment portfolios as well as earned and contributed income. The real estate holdings can be traced back to purchases made by Charles and Emma Frye in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

“We are committed to continuing to provide our community, both locally and globally, with exceptional exhibitions and vital programs as well as the free admission that is central to our mission,” said Bowman. “These changes ensure that everyone visiting the Frye will continue to experience exceptional exhibitions and programs. Every cut is difficult and has been weighed against the impact on our programs, our staff, and our future. These changes are strategic with the goal of ensuring the stability and health of the Frye Art Museum today and tomorrow.”

The Museum is addressing budget issues for its 2010 fiscal year budget, which begins October 1. “We are carefully considering how these cuts affect next year,” added Bowman, “as well as how we will strategically move forward in the months and years to come, ensuring the stability and future of the Museum.”

Frye Art Museum | Seattle | Charles and Emma Frye | Midge Bowman |

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