LOS ANGELES, March 16 (UPI) -- A loss of $1.5 billion in investments has forced the J. Paul Getty Trust arts institution to cut its operating budget by about 25 percent, officials said.
The Los Angeles Times quoted Getty President James Wood as saying the financial stability of the institution could "fall off a huge cliff" if it postponed the budget cuts while the U.S. economy continued to falter. The cuts in the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1, could mean some staff layoffs, fewer temporary exhibitions and a hold on the acquisition of additional works for several of the Getty museums' collections.
The Getty relies heavily on investment earnings to fund its two admission-free art museums -- the Getty Museum in Brentwood, Calif., and the Getty Villa near Malibu, Calif. -- as well as research and art conservation projects, and grant-making operations.
The Times said the $1.5 billion loss the Trust experienced in 2008 means the next fiscal year's budget is expected to be $216 million, slashed from the current year's budget, which is $284 million.
Wood emphasizes that keeping the museums free for visitors is "a terribly important priority."
New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art last week announced plans to lay off 10 percent of its workforce, partly because of an endowment loss of nearly 28 percent, the newspaper said.