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Seattle Art Museum Announces Layoffs, Pay Reductions and Two Week Closure

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It seemed like everything had been coming up pretty rosy for the Seattle Art Museum following the rug being pulled out from under them back in 2008 when the now-defunct Washington Mutual and JP Morgan abandoned their shared new building, leaving them in the lurch for millions at a time when museums across the board were struggling. Either because of that news and/or strong exhibitions, the SAM was suddenly swarmed with visitors, they picked up a new director, Derrick Cartwright, and Nordstrom announced they were stepping in to fill up a healthy portion of their building’s available empty space. But while it seemed things were on the up and up, apparently the museum is still hurting, with heavy debt lingering and a decline from that initial boost of visitor popularity. They’ve just released a statement saying they’ll be cutting 15 staff members, reducing executives’ pay by 10% (Cartwright himself will be taking a larger reduction), and perhaps most alarming, will be closing their doors for two weeks next year, from January 31st to Feburary 13th. Here’s a bit about the news from Cartwright:

“We are taking steps to remedy a tough situation. There is nothing more difficult about my role than saying goodbye to valued colleagues. The decision to reduce staff is especially hard since SAM has a talented workforce. Unfortunately, since personnel expenses represent a significant portion of our expense base, the only way to bring operating costs to sustainable levels is through staff reductions.”

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