BAM Faces Dire Financial Future

April 14, 2020, 10:56.52 am ET  

Photo: BAM                                                                                                                       

For more than 150 years, the fabled Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) has presented some of New York City’s most prestigious and innovative programming from the U.S. and around the world, including works by Ingmar Bergman, Mark Morris and Peter Brook. But the beloved institution announced on Monday that it was cancelling the remainder of its Spring 2020 season – including the annual BAMcinemaFest; and the DanceAfrica Festival – due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a decision that leaves BAM on shaky financial ground.

The cancellation of the Spring programming means an estimated loss of $7.4 million in ticket revenue through June 30. As a result, BAM will undertake staff furloughs and layoffs, while the institution’s executive staff has agreed to a reduction in compensation of 30%, with a 40% reduction for its president, Katy Clark. However, it may not be enough to keep BAM running fully in the coming years, without financial support from its patrons and others.

“Along with many of our peer arts institutions, BAM is experiencing a period of financial loss, uncertainty, and extraordinary challenge,” says Adam E. Max, chair of the BAM Board of Directors. “We are pleased that many donors have stepped forward to make initial gifts or increase their donations. And many ticket holders have already donated their tickets to canceled programs. We urge our thousands of supporters to follow their lead.”

For the moment, BAM is offering curated digital content in a series called “Love from BAM”, featuring archived performances and talks, as well as films streamed through partnerships with distributors. 

For more information, visit                                                        

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