Portland Museum of Art to Cut 13 Positions, Citing PandemicFallout

The museum reported that attendance numbers have dropped by 35 percent since the 2020.

The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in Maine is cutting 13 positions due to the lingering finance impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, local news outlets report.

The layoffs will include salaried and part-time employees, as museum management is seeking to reduce the nearly 70 percent of its operating budget dedicated to wages.

“The museum was fortunate to receive ERC credits and PPP loans to maintain staffing and programmatic growth during unprecedented times, but the multi-year positive impact of this support will soon expire,” the PMA said in a statement. “As expenses continue to remain high and unpredictable, the real and persisting negative effects of this historic moment have necessitated changes in the PMA’s operations.”

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The announcement follows two years of contentious relations between the museum and its employees over wages and job security. Last month, gallery ambassadors and security workers unionized, marking the second second successful union campaign at the museum, following the 70 or so employees who joined United Auto Workers Local 2110, the Technical, Office and Professional Union in 2021. Unionized employees will be not be affected by the layoffs.

The museum reported that attendance numbers have dropped by 35 percent since the 2020, raising concerns for the sustainability of its programming.

“We will maintain and care for our aging campus and find ways to unify and leverage our Congress Square location. And we will ensure our programs, events, and exhibitions support our mission of Art for All and values of courage, equity, service, sustainability, and trust,” the museum said.

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