May 19 – WINONA – Much of the news coming out of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in recent weeks has focused on the departure of Emanuel Leutze’s famous “Washington Crossing the Delaware” painting.
On Wednesday evening, the focus shifted from the Museum of Marine Art’s past to its future as MMAM hosted its first in-person report to the community.
The MMAM, like many museums, had experienced financial difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic. MMAM has lost 60% of its revenue over the past two years, but has still been able to maintain its expense costs over this period.
“We’ve been able to get through this without having to cut any staff over the past year,” said MMAM Board Chairman Bill Hoel. “We’ve been around for eighteen years and we really owe a huge debt of gratitude to every one of our donors.”
For 2021, MMAM has racked up just under $1 million in revenue, earning $989,752 in total. MMAM’s expenses in 2021 were $880,930 for the nonprofit, finalizing a net income of $108,822 for 2021.
MMAM executive director Scott Pollock said 2021 was not an easy year.
“We were all struggling to figure out how we were going to run the museum and we managed to find a way,” he said.
The community report provided insight into what the museum envisions for its future with galleries, community engagement, and artist partnerships over the next three years.
“As of January 6, we have been considering all the changes in each gallery,” Pollock said. “Many of the museum’s original collections will be moved elsewhere over time. Our main question is what other works can we think of for our galleries that showcase art through water?”
Although Pollock shared that many of the original works of art that have been at MMAM since it opened in 2004 won’t all be on display in years past, they won’t disappear entirely. The 624 original works of art will remain with the museum’s current collection on display for the next 28 months.
MMAM seeks to increase the number of visitors and attendees through community engagement partnerships with the Winona Community Foundation and other regional partnerships with the city’s three institutions of higher education. In 2021, MMAM totaled 32,044 visitors and participants through their exhibitions and programs. The goal is to eclipse that figure of 8,000 this year.
“We’re trying to get out of our current ecosystem (and) into new ecosystems within the Winona community to see how we become more engaged with the community than we currently are,” Pollock said. “Over 60% of our visitors are from outside the Winona area, so how can we continue to grow our audience in the area? We shouldn’t expect people to come see us all the time .”
To help increase visitor numbers in 2022 compared to 2021, MMAM is also launching free events such as Toddler Tuesdays, in addition to free Student Tuesdays and seasonal Saturdays throughout the summer. Also in July and August, the museum will be open until 7 p.m.
Among all these other changes, MMAM is looking to change its energy practices to become one of the most eco-friendly museums in the Midwest by 2030. Pollock explained how MMAM is working to save on the production of energy and pollution with existing infrastructure before investing in new infrastructure.
“One opportunity was to convert all of our gallery lighting a few years ago to the best energy efficient gallery. It’s amazing how you have to have specific lighting on historical artworks and add a layer of energy efficiency to that,” says Pollock.
For the remainder of 2022, MMAM will run three fundraising campaigns with a goal of $30,000 that will help increase the number of artworks at the museum, increase opportunities for community engagement, and improve practices environment of the museum. Donors can contribute to these campaigns either at the museum or on the MMAM website,