Local museums going creative to keep business afloat during pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Many businesses are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic, and local museums are feeling the squeeze as well.

Closed for months, organizations like Arte Americas have taken down much of the artwork and artifacts once featured while officials try to come up with creative ways to generate revenue while being shut down by the state.

"Right away when we realized that this was going to be a long time before we could connect with our community again, we went onto social media and to Facebook and Instagram," says Executive Director Ruth Saludes.

A number of live programs, including cooking shows and dance classes, can now be seen on the Arte Americas Facebook page.

Officials say these types of events have helped them stay connected with the community while membership fees and donations continue to come in.

Other organizations like the Fresno Art Museum have also found similar success using social media to raise money.

"I've been able to maintain our bills and payroll through this so far," says Director Michele Pracy.

According to Pracy, the Fresno Art Museum runs on a monthly budget between $12,000 to $18,000.

Federal Coronavirus Aid has helped the museum continue to pay its bills, but a just-released report by the American Alliance of Museums says a third of all American museums will be forced to close for good because of the pandemic.

"I don't think we're going to be a casualty because I have an over staff and there's been no fluff," Pracy said. "It has been a tight wired ship that I've run for five years, so this is nothing new to me and it's not scary."

Officials with Arte Americas also feel confident in their museum's future despite being shutdown for most of 2020

"Although we're struggling financially like everyone else, we will not be one of those museums that folds," Saludes said. "We are well covered with our different grants and all the things we started doing immediately when we knew COVID hit."
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