Skip to main content

Art Institute lays off 8% of staff due to COVID-19 pandemic

Mark Witteveen, left, owner of The Chicago Flyhouse, and Keith Walsh install a large Chicago flag mask on one of the lions at the Art Institute. © JoseM. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Mark Witteveen, left, owner of The Chicago Flyhouse, and Keith Walsh install a large Chicago flag mask on one of the lions at the Art Institute.

Following on the heels of most of Chicago's major cultural institutions during the global pandemic, the Art Institute of Chicago this week laid off staff in what it called a necessary adjustment to a new reality and still uncertain future.

"The Art Institute of Chicago has informed staff of a reduction in force affecting 51 individuals, or just over 8% of our team," Executive Director of Public Affairs Kati Murphy said in a statement. "This difficult decision was made in response to a reduction in museum visitors and changes to our internal structure that reflect the evolving needs of our institution and our community moving forward."

a group of people standing in front of a building: Chicago Flyhouse owner Mark Witteveen, left, puts Chicago flag mask on a lion outside the Art Institute on April 30, 2020. © Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Chicago Flyhouse owner Mark Witteveen, left, puts Chicago flag mask on a lion outside the Art Institute on April 30, 2020.

The museum has been closed since mid-March and has spoken of the tentative possibility of reopening by the end of July, depending on how Chicago does at keeping the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum as it enters the fourth phase of its five-stage reopening plan. But whenever the Art Institute opens back up, city rules will limit attendance to 25% of capacity, and the encyclopedic Michigan Avenue museum is bracing for major revenue shortfalls.

a person riding on top of a building: Mark Witteveen, owner of The Chicago Flyhouse, places a city of Chicago flag mask on one of the lions outside the Art Institute on April 30, 2020. © Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS Mark Witteveen, owner of The Chicago Flyhouse, places a city of Chicago flag mask on one of the lions outside the Art Institute on April 30, 2020.

The cuts were nearly museumwide, Murphy said.

"We are sad to be losing the skills and contributions of a number of valued colleagues," she said. "During these challenging times, we must transform our operations, giving us little choice but to make reductions in nearly all of our departments."

The layoffs were completed Friday, the museum said.

Two weeks earlier, the Field Museum of Natural History told the public of its own layoffs in a June 12 letter from CEO Richard Lariviere. The museum laid off 27 staffers, informed another 17 their "terms will not be renewed" upon expiration in the coming months and eliminated 27 open positions. It furloughed 56 employees, but, Lariviere said, "We hope to bring back the majority of our 56 furloughed employees within six months."

a sign on the side of a building: A large Chicago flag mask is installed on the Picasso in Daley Plaza by Mark Witteveen, owner of The Chicago Flyhouse. © JoseM. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS A large Chicago flag mask is installed on the Picasso in Daley Plaza by Mark Witteveen, owner of The Chicago Flyhouse.

Also cutting staff have been Adler Planetarium, Lincoln Park Zoo and the Museum of Science and Industry, among others.

sajohnson@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @StevenKJohnson

a close up of a busy city street with Art Institute of Chicago in the background: The Art Institute along Adams Street on June 18, 2020. © Brian Cassella / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS The Art Institute along Adams Street on June 18, 2020.

———

©2020 the Chicago Tribune

Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

History of Art Timeline

The historical past of art is usually told as a chronology of masterpieces created during each civilization. It can thus be framed as a narrative of high culture, epitomized by the Wonders of the World. On any other hand, vernacular art expressions can even be integrated into art historic narratives, called folk arts or craft. The more intently that an art historian engages with these latter sorts of low culture, the much more likely it is that they will determine their work as analyzing visual culture or cloth culture, or as contributing to fields associated with art historical past, akin to anthropology or archaeology. In the latter cases, art gadgets may be called archeological artifacts. Surviving art from this era comprises small carvings in stone or bone and cave painting. The first traces of human-made gadgets appeared in southern Africa, the Western Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe Adriatic Sea, Siberia Baikal Lake, India, and Australia. These first traces are general…

How to Show Art Work when the Gallery Says No Thanks

There are places in the town where you live where you can show your artwork when the big gallery you solicited said, "No, thanks."
Other artists may need to find venues other than galleries to show their artworks as well. Visual artists living in art-rich communities where there is a lot of local competition will need to get creative about display opportunities.

Or on the other hand, in towns without large art venues, it is important for artists to find smaller and less obvious places to show your art.

How to Show Art Work When The Gallery Says No Thanks

1. Show Where You Go

The most successful approach to finding a place in your town to display your artwork is to solicit a place that you go to frequently. Make a list of all the places you go to each day, each week, and each month.

Make a special trip, or the next time you visit note if the establishment currently exhibits any artwork, if it is local, and if it is for sale.

Also note if they have available wall space where a…

How Art Buyers Find Photographers Now

Business was good; now, not so much. Clients want everything triple-bid, they want more for less, and they want it yesterday. Photography is everywhere, and there are more places to look for the right photographer than ever.

IS HAVING A REP MORE IMPORTANT NOW THAN IT HAS BEEN IN THE PAST?

The short answer is no. "If I get a great promo from someone it really doesn't matter to me if they have an agent or not, because in the end we're looking for the right person for the job," says Celeste Holt-Walters, an art buyer with McCann Erickson in New York.

The long answer is that running a good business and being a savvy networker and self-promoter are key. If you aren't business-minded or good at marketing yourself, you probably do need a good rep.

Simply having your name and portfolio on the Web site of a major rep is great promotion, because buyers know that when they're looking for photographers they can see top talent shooting a variety of styles with one tour of…