BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After exhausting all its options, the Baltimore Museum of Art is making cuts. The measures will impact more than a dozen employees and save nearly $500,000.

Tim Williams has more.

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It may not be a noticeable problem but financial challenges at the Baltimore Museum of Art are painting an ugly picture.

“For the past five years, the BMA has managed a budget with a 43 percent decrease in government grants and a 38 percent decrease in the endowment,” said Baltimore Museum of Art spokesperson Anne Brown.

Museum administrators recently announced a layoff of 11 full-time and three part-time employees, which is nine percent of its entire staff.

Further restructuring of several other positions will help make up a projected $500,000 deficit by July 1.

“We organized wonderful exhibitions with our collections. We’ve reduced as many of the non-personnel expenses as we could and we also did temporary salary reductions,” Brown said.

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And the BMA is not alone. It joined the Waters Art Museum in a nationwide survey of 347 museums. They are among the 16 percent of museums making budget cuts over the past few years.

“The arts in Maryland are incredibly strong,” said Theresa Colvin, Maryland State Arts Council.

Despite the discouraging news from local museums, across the state, arts overall are getting a financial boost from Maryland’s General Assembly.

“The Maryland State Arts Council General Fund appropriation will increase by about $2 million to the record level of $15.2 million,” Colvin said.

Those funds will be spread thin and the battle for them continues–meaning museums will have to remain creative to make ends meet.

“We’re finding other solutions to build for the future,” Brown said.

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Through the current crisis, admission to the museum will remain free, as it has been since October 2006.

Tim Williams