Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art wrapped up its centennial year with its highest attendance ever, 760,000 people in the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The record continues a four-year run during which visitor numbers grew from 680,000 in fiscal 2013.

Calculations of other key numbers, notably the institution’s budget, endowment and membership, aren’t finished, museum director Kaywin Feldman said Thursday. Those stats are expected later in July or early August.

“I’m quite convinced that we balanced our budget and had a successful year,” Feldman said. “But I just saw our auditors staring at their screens, so we don’t have any other numbers yet.”

She sent out an enthusiastic tweet detailing the attendance figures earlier this week.

Attendance this year was amplified by the museum’s 100th birthday celebrations, which ran from January through December 2015. The centennial also produced a bumper crop of 752,000 visitors in fiscal 2015.

“I really believe those numbers are a reflection of the staff culture here, and that’s not just a throwaway line,” Feldman said. “We’ve adopted a culture of experimentation and risk-taking that included birthday-year innovations and free membership. In general, our income from membership has stayed about the same, but the membership base has grown, which means more people know about and attend our events and exhibitions.

“That was a big risk, but in general it has worked,” she said, adding that museum board members were “appropriately skeptical and questioning all the time, but supportive.”

http://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-institute-of-art-sets-highest-attendance-ever-in-101-year-history/385884721/