Portland Art Museum Says It Will Lose $1 Million for Every Month It Is Shut Down

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the city, the museum saw a substantial drop in its already low public funding.

Less than a week after it was declared a pandemic, COVID-19 has destabilized many of the country's most prominent arts organizations—even the Met has taken a major hit.

Now, one of Portland's largest arts organizations has issued a cry for help.

This week, the Portland Art Museum requested emergency relief funding from Oregon's coronavirus response special committee.

The Portland Art Museum and NW Film Center estimate the joint institutions will lose $1 million in revenue for each month the organizations remain closed.

"We are unable to sustain a $1 million loss for long," Brian Ferriso, the museum's president, writes in the request. "It will have reverberating consequences for arts and culture in Oregon."

The museum is requesting at least $800,000 in emergency funds to cover monthly payroll for the institution's 257 employees.

The Portland Art Museum and NWFC have been closed since March 13, after initially announcing the museum's galleries would remain open.

Even before the pandemic shut down much of the city, the museum was grappling with financial uncertainty. Along with Portland's other biggest cultural hubs, the museum recently saw a substantial drop in its already low public funding.

It's not alone, either. The Cultural Advocacy Coalition released a grim report on COVID-19's initial impact on Oregon art institutions, including upward of $1 million in losses for Oregon Ballet Theatre and Portland Opera.

Related: Following the Departure of Its Director, Portland Opera Is Attempting to Engage With Modern Audiences—While Also Recovering From Financial Disarray.

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