Museum's Money Troubles Could Mean Closure

by ekramer on April 7, 2010

An operating deficit at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is threatening to close the 32-year-old institution. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has details.

A fire at the museum in 2003 forced it to use its financial reserves. Since then, its operating deficit has grown and is now more than $200,000.

The chairman of the museum’s board of directors — Dean Stanley — says the museum has been trying to raise the money, but it could close in a month or two if funds aren’t raised soon.

“We’ve been addressing it for some time,” he says, “and, unfortunately, in an economic climate that we have currently, we’ve found it to be more difficult to raise funds. But we’ve not given up on that.”

Stanley also emphasizes that every little bit can help the museum these days.

“Our needs are immediate, and as funds might become available to us, it sort of extends the date and time that we might have to close,” he says. “So, it’s a pretty immanent problem.”

In recent years, the museum has tried to raise money and laid off staff. The city’s arts commission is working with the museum and other Owensboro groups to stabilize long-term funding.

Stanley says the museum adds to the quality of life for people in living in and around Owensboro.

“It’s an economic and tourism attraction,” he says. “And it’s mission is to be sure that our young people in this community have the opportunity to be able to share in the programs of a quality fine art museum.”

The museum has a $1 million operating budget.

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