Museum layoffs begin in Los Angeles at MOCA and Hammer

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles © Marissa Roth, courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles have both laid off large numbers of part-time employees in the wake of coronavirus (Covid-19) related losses, the Los Angeles Times reports. MOCA began notifying all 97 of its part-time employees on Tuesday that the layoffs were coming, the same day that the Hammer let go of its 150 part-time student employees. At both museums, the laid off roles were primarily on-site employees whose duties could not be performed remotely, including gallery attendants, art handlers, retail employees, reception/box office, and other similar positions. MOCA also laid off educational team members related to its Contemporary Art Start classroom programme.

Both museums voiced that they hoped to hire back staff when the institutions reopen. “We hope that many of our part-time students will return to the Hammer later this summer,” a museum representative from the Hammer told the LA Times, and MOCA also articulated a similar sentiment. The Hammer has said that it does not expect to reopen until mid-July, and MOCA has not yet stated a date. The Hammers laid off employees will be paid through 10 April, while MOCAs will receive payment through the end of March.

Though ticket sales are a comparatively small portion of a museums funds, and so long-term closures may not initially seem like such a financial hit, the coronavirus has severely affected other sources as well, including fundraising efforts, and a volatile stock market typically leads to a shrink in donations. In 2019, however, MOCA received a $10m gift to allow for free admission to the museum, and some employees are questioning why a portion of that money is nRead More – Source

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