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


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.”