Here’s a local media follow-up story to my previous post regarding the closing of the Minnesota Center for Photography (fragments are quoted below). The locals have been fairly quiet, on the whole, about the loss of this center–perhaps shell-shocked after a spate of bad news in the local arts community, perhaps resigned for much more to come. (If I were a betting person, I’d place even money on the MMAA to become the next artistic failure victim; this gives good reason for us to read Glenn Gordon’s homage, on The Thousandth Word, to the museum’s permanent collection show, now up at the beseiged museum.)
Some excerpts of the Strib’s story on MCP:
Arts group another victim of economy
Hard times force the closing of a cornerstone of the local art scene, the Minnesota Center for Photography.
The Minnesota Center for Photography (MCP) is permanently closing its doors today after 18 years, a victim of tough financial times and staff departures.
Founded above an auto repair shop on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, the nonprofit organization grew into one of the Twin Cities’ most important showcases for photography, especially by Minnesota artists….
Four years ago it moved from dingy basement digs in Uptown to a sunny, renovated building in northeast Minneapolis — a move that signaled the emergence of Northeast as a gallery mecca not seen since the Warehouse District’s heydays in the 1980s.
As recently as January, MCP had a staff of five and a projected annual budget of $970,000. But its finances deteriorated in the past seven months as the board pared the budget to $650,000, executive director George Slade resigned, staff members left for other jobs, and one was laid off.
“It was sort of a perfect storm” of trouble, said Mark Wilson, co-chair of MCP’s board of directors. The board voted Monday evening to close. The remaining two staffers were informed Tuesday…. “The most distressing thing is that there is such a passion for the organization’s mission in the community. It got to the point where we didn’t see long-term sustainability and didn’t think it was appropriate to solicit more funds.”…
News of the closing startled but did not surprise members of the art community, where rumors of financial difficulties had circulated for months….
Corporate and foundation support remained stable at about $100,000 a year, Wilson said, but individual support plummeted following a three-year expansion campaign that ended last summer….
“I don’t want to blame anybody,” Wilson said. “We had a good run and a lot of people did a lot of really good things for us.”