Art museum in KC manages redo amid cuts

Kansas City, Missouri (AP) 4-09

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is unveiling the first half of a $17.2 million improvement project during GMay, despite recent staff and program cuts.

The museum in Kansas City announced a 10-percent reduction in operating costs three months ago. It included staff cuts and the cancellation of a major special exhibit set for September.

But now, the museum is primed to show off its pricey redo, which includes new galleries for the American and American Indian collections.

Marc Wilson, the museum’s director and chief executive officer, said funds for the new construction were donated before the cuts.

“They’re totally different pots,” Wilson said. “One is a capital pot for construction, with money donated long before the crash – as early as 2003.

“There’s a fire wall between those and operating funds,” he added. “They’re not interchangeable at all. The money’s all donated from private sources, donated for these purposes specifically.”