MN Orchestra To Return Almost $1M In State Grants
The Minnesota Orchestra said it will return a State Arts Board grant while a contract settlement with its musicians has yet to be reached.
Minnesota Orchestra CEO Michael Henson said the organization would not spend the fiscal 2013 state grant of approximately $960,000 until a settlement with its musicians had been reached, according to the Star Tribune. And the lack of a deal required the orchestra to return the funds, as they cannot be carried over to the group’s next fiscal period.
State Arts Board Executive Director Sue Gens told the Minneapolis newspaper that $357,000 in general funds would go to the state treasury, while $605,000 from the Arts and Heritage legacy fund would be returned and re-granted in 2014.
Henson told the Star Tribune that he doesn’t anticipate additional administrative staff changes as a result of losing the grant money. He told the newspaper the $960,000 will account for about 7 percent of the orchestra’s fiscal year budget, although due to the uncertainty in orchestra expenses and revenue this year, an exact figure will not be known until the end of August.
“We have substantial challenges that we will try to address through fundraising and managing the situation,” Henson said.
Orchestra musicians have said they will not continue bargaining until the lockout has ended, according to the Minneapolis newspaper.
The lockout, which began in October, caused Minnesota Orchestra management to cancel the remainder of its 2012-2013 concert season due to ongoing labor disputes with its musicians. The cancelations marked the first time in the orchestra’s 110-year history in which an entire season passed with no music. In recent years, the orchestra has reduced its administrative staff by 20 percent and has frozen salaries for most of the members who remain, according to the Star Tribune.