At Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass we share the concerns of our colleagues and smaller arts organizations who are currently making the difficult decisions to meet the immediate challenges of COVID-19. The wrenching discussion to retain seasoned staff or succumb to the difficult immediate budget decisions to furlough or lay off some staff is weighing heavily on all of us, administration and boards alike, for our generally already cash strapped organizations. This is coupled with the need to remain visible and service oriented for our audiences during this time of shutdown, as well as be positioned to deliver our services to them as quickly as possible when the time comes.
It is during times like these that a board and administration faced with such decisions doesn’t make them lightly, but must also look at the longevity of the impact their decisions will make on the viability of their organizations. After deliberate discussion to recognize the bigger picture and impact, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass Board of Directors examined the short and long term outcome to be in a position to support our community. This resulted in endorsing the administration proposal to retain the existing small staff that produces the public services and pay their full salaries during shutdown, labeling it “the right thing to do for the short term, until May 1 if necessary”. This measure is courageous, given the economic strain, but was made to ensure the ability to continue our services to the community and return to some new level delivered value as quickly as possible. This was not a decision made lightly, nor without the financial challenges it might bring. However, it was made with conviction to a staff that serves the public daily, and the hope that fundraising efforts will continue to meet the challenges ahead as the staff provide continuity and hope for tomorrow.
We are grateful and proud to work for a board that has endorsed the decision to retain the small staff so they may continue their work in the community of Bergstrom-Mahler Museum of Glass is the right thing to do for them, and for the hopeful services they can provide to a community in need of transcendence.