The Washington Post is reporting that despite the troubles of The Corcoran Gallery, other DC-based private art museums seem to be doing well.
The newspaper says that The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington’s oldest private art museum may have to sell its historic building due to financial troubles. Despite these financial woes, other Washington private institutions seem to be holding on.
The Phillips Collection, the Kreeger Museum and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, all 20th-century creations, are surviving the waves of financial stress and wavering public loyalty. While all the museums show the impressionists and were founded by generous benefactors, their missions and scopes are vastly different.
The long-troubled Corcoran reports a deficit of $7.2 million for the fiscal year that ended in June 2011 and estimates it would cost $130 million to bring its beaux-arts building up to modern museum standards. The remaining three private museums have balanced budgets, or a small deficit, and need no major repairs on their own historic buildings.
But they, like museums nationwide, were hit hard by the recession that began in 2008. Unlike the national museums, which get appropriations from Congress for salaries and benefits and upkeep, the private art museums have to take those expenses out of their operating budgets.
Most art museums say their financial pictures have stabilized since the hard hits of the recession. Reflecting this positive trend, 63 percent reported an increase in revenue in 2012, attributed to more giving by individuals, according to the Association of Art Museum Directors. In 2009, only 31 percent reported an increase .
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