The Shed, a multidisciplinary cultural center located in New York’s Hudson Yards, has confirmed the layoff of 28 of its 107 full-time workers. A statement shared with Hyperallergic attributes the layoffs to financial losses suffered during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The institution cites a “total loss of earned income” which has led to layoffs despite “aggressive cost-cutting measures, significant cuts in executive salaries and generous additional support from major donors.”
A spokesperson confirmed that the layoffs affected employees in different departments of the organization.
“Our talented and committed colleagues define the spirit of our young institution, so today’s action is heartbreaking. But with unprecedented financial challenges facing the cultural sector, we had to create a sustainable way forward for The Shed and our mission to support new work, ”said Alex Poots, Artistic Director and CEO.
According to public data from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) made available by the Small Business Administration (SBA), the Shed received a loan in the range of $ 2-5 million.
The Shed was forced to close in March to curb the spread of the virus, but plans to move forward with several programs once it can reopen in the fall, including exhibitions by artists Howardena Pindell and Tomás Saraceno; the second edition of “Open Call”, a series of commissions for early-career New York artists; and Claudia Rankine Help, a new white men’s privilege-focused play that had to close during premieres in March. The Shed has yet to set a reopening date.
The announcement comes in the middle the most recent wave of layoffs in New York’s culture sector. At the end of June, the Brooklyn Museum laid off 26 full-time and 3 part-time employees; the new museum has laid off 18 full-time and part-time workers of the 41 workers it had put on leave since March. The two museums had received millions in repayable PPP loans, requiring recipients to use the money to retain staff, which sparked speculation that layoffs are timed with the end of the PPP loan period.