Helped by the rising value of its investment portfolio, the Walker Art Center managed to balance its budget for the 36th consecutive year despite a sizable drop in revenue.
The Walker drew $8.3 million from its endowment in the year ended June 30 — a 33 percent increase from the year before — to help offset total expenses of $21.7 million.
Income earned from exhibitions declined by 57 percent to $1,576,692, despite international attention for its major show "Merce Cunningham: Common Time" earlier this year. Gallery attendance was down 22 percent, to 125,627.
Also hurting the bottom line: The annual Rock the Garden concert, traditionally staged in June, was pushed back to July last summer, just after the end of the fiscal year.
The Walker had anticipated a challenging 2016-17, given the two-year makeover of the Walker campus and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden that concluded with a June 10 reopening.
"The Walker board approved the use of reserve funds for program costs related to the grand reopening of the renovated campus," said Mary Polta, chief financial officer. She will serve on a four-person interim leadership team following the departure of Executive Director Olga Viso, who announced her resignation last month.
During fiscal 2016-17, the Walker drew 38 percent of its income from its endowment funds, compared with only 28 percent the preceding year. The endowment itself grew 6 percent to just over $200 million.
Revenue from the Walker's performing-arts program declined slightly to $156,159, but its "moving image" department (film and video) had a 19 percent increase to $382,529. This was credited to the popularity of the December British Arrows advertising awards screenings, which Polta said were "even more popular than the previous year."
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