Re: To the battlements, comrades!

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In cutback, Carnegie drops film, video unit

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

By Patricia Lowry, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

In an effort to trim its 2003 budget, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is
eliminating its film and video section and permanently laying off 17
full-time and four part-time employees. In addition, six employees have
resigned voluntarily and 22 vacant positions will not be filled.

The loss of 49 total full-time and four part-time positions is expected
to save the parent corporation $4 million this year. The budget cut is
necessary because of increased expenses and a decline in revenue from
the museums' $180 million investment portfolio, down from $255 million
in 1999.

Although the job cuts had been anticipated for months, the staff learned
yesterday which positions and employees would be affected. The
departures took effect immediately.

The film and video section, curated by Bill Judson, had 90 screenings of
independent and foreign films last year, with an attendance of 11,000.
It had built a national reputation and was in the vanguard of the
independent film movement, attracting many famous directors over the years.

Carnegie Institute Ppresident Ellsworth Brown said the availability of
independent and foreign films in Pittsburgh has increased substantially
since the program's launch in the late 1960s, with Pittsburgh
Filmmakers, The Andy Warhol Museum and Carnegie International exhibits
offering alternative screenings.

Still, the museum's film section contributed to making Pittsburgh
fertile ground for independent films and students, especially by
offering historical films, retrospectives and comprehensive series of
international films. Designated a major media center, it attracted the
National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture here for its national
conference in 1998.

Judson's supervisor, art museum director Richard Armstrong, said it was
an agonizing decision.

"[Judson] was the guru of the medium, both media," Armstrong said. "The
program is sterling."

Reached last night, Judson said he was "really sad" that international
films and multicultural followup discussions won't be available here.

"It's the only way the museum addressed that aspect of the community,"
he said.

The film and video section's fall 2002 schedule featured new Japanese
comedies and dramas, films based on the work of pulp fiction writer
David Goodis and films from Central Asia. This year, films are scheduled
through March 2, but the museum has not yet decided whether that
commitment will be kept.

Judson, who had been teaching film history at the University of
Pittsburgh when he took over in 1975, is the most senior member of the
staff to be let go.

Brown said the loss of the film and video department, known as CMA
Cinema, was the only element of the budget cuts that would be felt by
the public.

But Carnegie Museums also will save about $50,000, Brown said, by ending
its Thursday evening hours at the museums of art and natural history,
which began last year with the art museum's popular "Light!" exhibition.
Subsequent attendance did not justify the evening hours, which ended
late last month.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh had a combined budget of $57 million in
2002 for its four departments: Carnegie Museum of Natural History,
Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Science Center and Warhol museum. The
2003 budget will be about $53 million.

Carnegie Museums' biggest expense, 80 percent of its budget, is salaries
and benefits for its 481 full-time employees and salaries for 758
part-time employees.

The natural history museum has the largest professional full-time staff,
with 81 full-time and 124 part-time employees before the cuts.
Yesterday, it lost two full-time staffers but retained all of its part
timers. In addition, six full-time employees resigned voluntarily and
seven vacant, full-time positions will not be filled.

The art museum is losing four full-time employees, including the three
positions in the film and video department. Five vacant positions will
not be filled, including two in education that went unfilled throughout
2002. One coordinated lecture programs and the other worked with and in
schools.

At the science center, three full-time employees and one part-timer have
been laid off. The Warhol museum lost one full-timer and one part-timer,
and five vacant positions will not be filled.

In addition, seven full-time and two part-time employees of Carnegie
Museums, the parent corporation, have been let go.

Brown declined to identify the positions that were eliminated.

While no Carnegie Museums employees received salary increases last year,
this year they may get what Brown called "a small raise package" on a
merit basis.

The layoffs are not expected to affect expansion plans for the science
center and the Oakland museums.

"We can't -- and won't -- stop planning for our future," Brown said.

One of Carnegie Museum's capital campaign goals, called Foundation for
the Future, will be used to further build the endowment and support the
operating budget.

Brown said the $4 million budget cut this year will eliminate the need
to draw from its unrestricted special project endowment of $25.7 million
to cover operating expenses in the foreseeable future.

The institute has drawn about $1 million annually from this fund since
the early 1990s, using it to help launch the science center in 1991 and
to establish the Warhol in 1994 and initially support its operation.
That fund also was tapped to start a marketing initiative in 1996 that
led to the "branding" of each of the four departments.

The rest of the institute's endowment -- $154.9 -- million is in
restricted accounts.

Brown said the museums' earned income has increased in each of the past
five years. While corporate gifts are down because of the stock market,
individual giving is up and foundation support is solid.

In addition to personnel and program reductions, the museums also have
trimmed their marketing and advertising spending. They will consolidate
purchasing in some areas and share fabrication shop services among their
exhibits departments.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
Patricia Lowry can be reached at plowry@post-gazette.com
<mailto:plowry@post-gazette.com> or 412-263-1590.
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In cutback, Carnegie drops film, video unit

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

By Patricia Lowry, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

In an effort to trim its 2003 budget, Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh is eliminating its film and video section and permanently laying off 17 full-time and four part-time employees. In addition, six employees have resigned voluntarily and 22 vacant positions will not be filled.

The loss of 49 total full-time and four part-time positions is expected to save the parent corporation $4 million this year. The budget cut is necessary because of increased expenses and a decline in revenue from the museums' $180 million investment portfolio, down from $255 million in 1999.

Although the job cuts had been anticipated for months, the staff learned yesterday which positions and employees would be affected. The departures took effect immediately.

The film and video section, curated by Bill Judson, had 90 screenings of independent and foreign films last year, with an attendance of 11,000. It had built a national reputation and was in the vanguard of the independent film movement, attracting many famous directors over the years.

Carnegie Institute Ppresident Ellsworth Brown said the availability of independent and foreign films in Pittsburgh has increased substantially since the program's launch in the late 1960s, with Pittsburgh Filmmakers, The Andy Warhol Museum and Carnegie International exhibits offering alternative screenings.

Still, the museum's film section contributed to making Pittsburgh fertile ground for independent films and students, especially by offering historical films, retrospectives and comprehensive series of international films. Designated a major media center, it attracted the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture here for its national conference in 1998.

Judson's supervisor, art museum director Richard Armstrong, said it was an agonizing decision.

"[Judson] was the guru of the medium, both media," Armstrong said. "The program is sterling."

Reached last night, Judson said he was "really sad" that international films and multicultural followup discussions won't be available here.

"It's the only way the museum addressed that aspect of the community," he said.

The film and video section's fall 2002 schedule featured new Japanese comedies and dramas, films based on the work of pulp fiction writer David Goodis and films from Central Asia. This year, films are scheduled through March 2, but the museum has not yet decided whether that commitment will be kept.

Judson, who had been teaching film history at the University of Pittsburgh when he took over in 1975, is the most senior member of the staff to be let go.

Brown said the loss of the film and video department, known as CMA Cinema, was the only element of the budget cuts that would be felt by the public.

But Carnegie Museums also will save about $50,000, Brown said, by ending its Thursday evening hours at the museums of art and natural history, which began last year with the art museum's popular "Light!" exhibition. Subsequent attendance did not justify the evening hours, which ended late last month.

Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh had a combined budget of $57 million in 2002 for its four departments: Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Science Center and Warhol museum. The 2003 budget will be about $53 million.

Carnegie Museums' biggest expense, 80 percent of its budget, is salaries and benefits for its 481 full-time employees and salaries for 758 part-time employees.

The natural history museum has the largest professional full-time staff, with 81 full-time and 124 part-time employees before the cuts. Yesterday, it lost two full-time staffers but retained all of its part timers. In addition, six full-time employees resigned voluntarily and seven vacant, full-time positions will not be filled.

The art museum is losing four full-time employees, including the three positions in the film and video department. Five vacant positions will not be filled, including two in education that went unfilled throughout 2002. One coordinated lecture programs and the other worked with and in schools.

At the science center, three full-time employees and one part-timer have been laid off. The Warhol museum lost one full-timer and one part-timer, and five vacant positions will not be filled.

In addition, seven full-time and two part-time employees of Carnegie Museums, the parent corporation, have been let go.

Brown declined to identify the positions that were eliminated.

While no Carnegie Museums employees received salary increases last year, this year they may get what Brown called "a small raise package" on a merit basis.

The layoffs are not expected to affect expansion plans for the science center and the Oakland museums.

"We can't -- and won't -- stop planning for our future," Brown said.

One of Carnegie Museum's capital campaign goals, called Foundation for the Future, will be used to further build the endowment and support the operating budget.

Brown said the $4 million budget cut this year will eliminate the need to draw from its unrestricted special project endowment of $25.7 million to cover operating expenses in the foreseeable future.

The institute has drawn about $1 million annually from this fund since the early 1990s, using it to help launch the science center in 1991 and to establish the Warhol in 1994 and initially support its operation. That fund also was tapped to start a marketing initiative in 1996 that led to the "branding" of each of the four departments.

The rest of the institute's endowment -- $154.9 -- million is in restricted accounts.

Brown said the museums' earned income has increased in each of the past five years. While corporate gifts are down because of the stock market, individual giving is up and foundation support is solid.

In addition to personnel and program reductions, the museums also have trimmed their marketing and advertising spending. They will consolidate purchasing in some areas and share fabrication shop services among their exhibits departments.


Patricia Lowry can be reached at plowry@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1590.
Back


Copyright ©1997-2003 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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