What Hispanic businesses can learn from the success of three Hispanic museums that succeeded despite the tough economy
From cutting-edge cultural programs to art exhibits, Hispanic-American museums showcase the voices, visions and artistic talents of Hispanics living in the U.S. However, thanks to the recent recession, these same museums have been hit hard by funding cuts. Shrinking endowments, a lack of public financing and decreased donations are forcing these museums to think creatively about fundingfinding new ways to sustain themselves financially.
From original marketing campaigns to new capital fundraising drives, recent Hispanic news reports prove that these important cultural institutions can still thriveeven with a stagnant economy.
El Museo del Barrio
Arguably one of Americas leading Latino cultural museums with a special focus on Caribbean immigrant communities, El Museo provides interpretative art and educational exhibits geared toward Hispanic youth in New York City. In 2011, a 10 percent cut in its operating subsidy from New York City forced the museum to make some tough financial decisions. El Museo had to get creative with its budgetslashing $1.1 million by reducing its summer program, shortening exhibit runs and laying off four staff members.
The museum also reached out to major corporate donorscultivating event support from American Express, Target and Chase. American Express provided key funding for El Museos recent special exhibit, Voces y Visiones: Signs, Systems and the City. Chase is the co-sponsor of educational programming, while Target sponsors Super Sabado, providing free museum entrance every third Saturday. El Museo has also aggressively recruited new members for its Patrons Circle; a minimum $2,500 donation is required for membership.
Lesson learned: Dont wait for funding to appearaggressively seek new revenue sources.
Even before budget cuts were announced, El Museo was already courting corporate sponsorships and private donors. This support allowed the museum to protect its core educational programs, despite public funding cuts.