Donations down at Bay Area museums

February 26, 2009 7:58:41 PM PST
The economy is causing concerns for some of the Bay Area's biggest museums.

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Four San Francisco museum directors were part of a roundtable discussion Thursday morning at the annual California Association of Museums Conference. The panel was moderated by ABC7 arts and entertainment reporter Don Sanchez.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art director Neal Benezra says donations are down because so many corporations and foundations are facing financial trouble.

"We take that into account. We're all living, trying to live within our means. We're tightening our belts, but you know, we'll get through this. We will get through this," says Benezra. "This is not the first time. We had a dot-com bubble burst a few years ago. and we made it through that, and we'll make it through this as well."

Benezra also says he's concerned about possible drops in state and city funding. But he says so far the MOMA has been able to keep all its programs and staff.

"The state's financial crisis and the city's as well, will inevitably trickle down to us. We're concerned about the grants for the arts program in San Francisco, which is the hotel tax that supports all of our museums. But so far we've been able to sustain our programs, sustain our staff."

Benezra also says corporations and foundations that give to museums are facing cutbacks of their own, but he's confident museums will make it through the crisis in good shape.

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