The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which has planned for the prospect of remaining closed until July while sustaining a $100 million loss as a result of the current coronavirus crisis, has created a new #CongressSaveCulture campaign to demand that federal relief funds for nonprofit cultural institutions be included in the U.S. government’s stimulus package.
The Met has called on congress to allocate at least $4 billion in government funds for nonprofit organizations facing financial peril during the outbreak. The campaign also advocates for a universal charitable tax deduction for donors to art institutions.
Max Hollein, director of the Met, said in a statement that this initiative is meant to serve “the overall museum environment, which is at risk.” He added, “In this moment of crisis, we all must do what we can to ensure that this essential component of our society will be preserved and protected for future generations.”
Daniel H. Weiss, president and CEO of the Met, said in a release that, with American art institutions “facing unprecedented financial damage” due to the ongoing crisis, “the need for government relief for arts institutions and their employees cannot be underestimated.”
A report published last week by the the New York Times revealed planning the Met had undertaken for the future, including the possibility of layoffs and furloughs in the coming months. The institution has vowed to pay all staff members through April 4, and it is working to create its won $50 million emergency fund for operational costs and fundraising efforts.
Laura Lott, president and chief executive officer of the American Alliance of Museums, told the Times that, for smaller art institutions throughout the U.S., the implications of the coronavirus “is by far more dire than anything I have experienced in my 25 years of being an arts finance professional.”