- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ 100th year was a good one, with an all-time attendance record of more than 750,000 people drawn by special exhibits on high-end Italian fashion and Austrian royal treasures.

To celebrate the museum’s centennial, staff negotiated art loans and raised $6.6 million for special events and exhibits, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1HKCuh9 ) reported. The museum also modernized its lobby, stepped up social media efforts and planned parties.

“We’ve had our finger on the change button for several years now; it’s a constant effort to adapt and grow,” said museum director Kaywin Feldman, who’s credited with helping the Minneapolis Institute of Art become a national leader in recent years.

The museum’s success contrasts with the struggles of other art museums and officials have fielded questions from museums in the U.S. and Europe that want to know more about the methods they have employed.

Events featuring live music and craft beer, such as the monthly Third Thursdays and last month’s Summer Party, also have aided in the attendance increase by attracting a younger demographic.

The museum was able to bounce back from the financial woes it faced during the Great Recession, which forced it to let go of nearly 30 workers, reduce salaries, scale back programs and cancel at least one exhibition. Attendance also hit one of its lowest points in the past decade, with only 457,575 visitors in 2008.

This year, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts also was able to balance its annual budget of $30 million and collect an additional $30 million in endowment pledges. It had $236 million in endowment funds, which helps support art purchases and operating expense, as of May 31.

The museum’s official tally for the fiscal year ending June 30 was a record-breaking 752,444 visitors.

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Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com


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