Community members got the chance to get an inside look into the Erie Art Museum’s finances at a staff chat. “Currently, the museum is $1.4 million in debt from the creation of the new building that we’re standing in right now,” said Josh Helmer, director of the museum.
Helmer says that no one is at fault when it comes to the debt. “One million dollars of that 1.4 came out from unrealized pledges which is one of the issues when fundraising for a project like this,” Helmer added. The project Helmer is referring to is the recent expansion of the museum.
During the presentation, Helmer went over some of things that will help raise money for the museum like, an increase in membership, annual fundraiser events and different hours of operation that will allow more people to visit.
One staff member at the Erie Art Museum says she’s confident that the museum will move forward in the right direction. “Even in the last nine months that Josh has been on board, we have turned the ship, it’s a big ship to turn, but…under his direction, we’ve been able to turn that ship and I see a bright future for the art museum,” said Lucia Conti, marketing director for Erie Art Museum.
Meanwhile, one artist who attended the staff chat says she likes how open the museum is being about their finances. “Life should be transparent… when there are problems, I think it’s best if people sit down and discuss problems,” said Susan Kemenyffy.
The museum has until the end of 2019 to pay off the $1.4 million. According to museum staff, they are also trying to increase visitation over the next couple of months.