Jun 30 2020

Virtually no economic sector has been untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the arts are no exception. With American art museums shuttered, revenues have plummeted and tens of thousands of museum workers have been laid off. More than a million more have been furloughed.

Given this dire economic picture, art museums are looking for any relief to help weather the current storm. Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Jamie Stone has written a new Law360 article on some short-term steps museums may want to explore in 2020-21.

The first option is to dip into museum endowment money. Stone notes that the Association of Art Museum Directors has issued guidelines on how art museums can access endowment money during this crisis.

In addition, Stone said museums may want to explore the sale of works of art from a museum's existing collections — a practice known as deaccessioning. Again, there are AAMD guidelines for deaccessioning, which Stone explores in this article.

“Tapping into restricted funds is not a permanent solution for museums struggling to balance the books. But unprecedented times require an extraordinary response. Drawing on museum endowments and proceeds from deaccessioned works may well provide short-term solutions to museums struggling with the COVID-19 crisis — provided the museums and their boards do so in a way that meets all legal and ethical standards,” she writes.

Click here to read “Access To Restricted Funds Could Save Struggling Museums” by Jamie Stone in Law360.