Like many local nonprofits, the Ann Arbor Art Center has been hit by a tough economy and is facing a budget shortfall for its current fiscal year, which ends Aug. 31. In a letter e-mailed to members today, the center’s CEO, Marsha Chamberlin, described their challenges: “Class attendance decreased while requests for scholarship support skyrocketed.
Energy costs increased while our donations remained constant. We have had to become much more cost sensitive and make big changes to continue to operate well; we decreased staff from 18 to 11 yet we proudly aspire to provide high-quality programming and exhibitions that the Ann Arbor community has come to expect.”
The center, located at 117 W. Liberty, has launched a “Close the Books in the Black Campaign” to raise $20,000 within two weeks. It’s an unusual step for the group, which boasts one of the largest local fundraisers, the annual WineFest. The Art Center is also part of a coalition that’s proposing to develop the city’s 415 W. Washington property.