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Seattle Art Museum Asks to Borrow $10 Million From Its Endowment to Help Pay Bills

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The last couple of years have just been a roller coaster of ups and downs for the Seattle Art Museum. First, right in the middle of the economic collapse, JP Morgan pulled out of the museum’s new building, leaving it in the lurch for roughly $60 million. But then they had a year of record attendance and Nordstom stepped in to pick up some of that rental space slack the bank had stuck them with. However, five months after all this good news, the museum was announcing layoffs, salary cutbacks, and a two week closure to help them catch their financial breath. It appears that the rollercoaster is still pointed downward at the moment, with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporting that the museum is now asking “a court for approval to borrow up to $10 million from its endowment fund to avoid defaulting on its downtown lease.” It’s the first time the museum has needed to borrow from the fund and desperately needed while fund-raising and Nordstrom’s rent checks still aren’t covering all their bills. The paper goes on to report that museum has promised the court that if it’s allowed to use money from its endowment to pay these expenses, it has planned “a major capital campaign to both repay and increase the endowment.” Eventually the roller coaster has to start chugging back up again, right?

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