Five months after the completion of a $60 million renovation and expansion, the Speed Art Museum has laid off several staffers in what they describe as a restructuring to ensure sustainability for the museum going into the future.
Speed spokesman Steven Bowling confirmed that for budgetary reasons the museum laid off seven full-time employees this week, in addition to changing two full-time positions to part time.
“As part of yearly budgetary planning for 2017, the Speed came to the difficult, but necessary, decision that some positions will not be staffed moving forward,” Bowling said in an email to Insider Louisville. “While unfortunate, this is the wisest course, to ensure the sustainable success of the Museum going forward. There were just a few positions changed or transferred from full to part-time. This restructuring will allow the Speed to run an efficient operation and sustain its vision for the future.”
Bowling added that Speed “entered the great unknown” this year when it reopened its museum after three years of closure for costly renovations, which have proven to be “an incredible success.”
When asked about attendance and whether there have been fewer visitors than projected since the museum reopened, Bowling declined to provide specifics. “We have had good steady crowds all summer, and people are enjoying free Sundays,” he said, “but as it is with all attractions, we always look for more visitors.”
As for whether any additional cost-cutting measures are in the works, that too remains unclear. When asked if programming would be affected, Bowling said “budgets were assessed and adjustments made,” but the overall visitor experience of the Speed will not be impacted.
“We ramped up heavily at the beginning of the year and are now stabilizing the structure to its most efficient, workable manner,” said Bowling. “The Speed is on the course for a successful 2017 and beyond.”
Speed currently has 78 full-time and 39 part-time employees, according to Bowling.