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Springfield Museum Of Art's Balanced Budget Topic Of Discussion Thursday Night

coutesy of Bob Bingenheimer

Thursday evening, the Springfield Museum of Art will hold an event called Members Matter. At the gathering, museum officials plan to announce a budget surplus and an increase in membership.

Last year, Springfield's Museum of Art adopted a best practices model used by other museums around the country. The move eliminated three positions including a curator, a membership coordinator and a security manager.

Some trustees resigned in protest, but Executive Director Ann Fortescue says the museum is now stronger as a result. She says members were also surveyed about their thoughts on fundraising, and the results showed that asking for less could result in more money for the museum.

"So we took that to heart and decided to stop doing our annual fund drive twice a year, stop some of the other smaller campaigns and focus all of our energies on an annual membership program," Fortescue says.

Now, for the first time in five years, the museum's budget is in the black and more than 100 new members have been added already in 2014. Fortescue says more changes are on the way.

"We had a wonderful special gift from a local Springfield woman who feels that art education is really essential.  She made it possible for us to hire a part-time museum educator."

The museum reported a 10 percent increase in attendance last year and has set $100,000 as its fund drive goal for 2014.

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