Brooklyn Academy of Music expects $7.4m shortfall due to coronavirus shutdown

Announcing it will cancel programming through June, the oldest interdisciplinary arts centre in the US must layoff and furlough staff

Brooklyn Academy of Music. Ajay Suresh/ Wikimedia Commons

As art organisations continue to face catastrophic financial losses in the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19) shutdowns in New York, the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has announced that it expects a $7.4m shortfall in its annual revenue this year after announcing Monday that it would cancel programming through June.

To stymie some of the ticket revenue losses, the interdisciplinary arts organisation says it will consider layoffs, furlough and pay cuts for its more than 1,000 employees. Executive staff will see a 30% pay cut while the academy's president, Katy Clark, will cut her roughly $400,000 salary by 40%.

“Along with many of our peer arts institutions, BAM is experiencing a period of financial loss, uncertainty and extraordinary challenge,” Adam Max, the chairman of the board, says in a statement.

BAM is asking its ticket holders to donate their ticket costs and has petitioned donors to make tax-deductible gifts to the organisation. According to Crain’s New York Business, BAM reported $56m in revenue in 2018, $18m of which was earned revenue.

Founded in 1861, BAM is the oldest performing arts centre in the US and a member of Cultural Institutions Group, an alliance of arts institutions that reside in historic city-owned buildings. The organisation commissions new work by emerging artists and modern masters alike, such as Merce Cunningham, Laurie Anderson and Meredith Monk.

Though it has long partnered with visual artists to create installations and interdisciplinary works, BAM further expanded its visual art programming in 2019 with the opening of the Rudin Family Gallery.