BAM Executives Take Steep Pay Cuts After Canceling Programs Through June

The president of the art center said that though other reductions may be necessary to offset millions in lost ticket sales, “we wanted to start at the top.”

Members of DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers rehearsing for 2019’s DanceAfrica festival. This year’s program is the first to be canceled since the festival was founded in the 1970s.
Credit...Andrew White for The New York Times

The Brooklyn Academic of Music announced on Monday that it has canceled its programming and events through June because of the coronavirus pandemic. To help offset the lost ticket revenue, which BAM estimates will total $7.4 million, the organization’s president and executives have agreed to pay reductions of up to 40 percent.

“We know many people in the organization are going to feel the pain of this,” said Katy Clark, BAM’s president, in an interview. “It’s a shared sacrifice, so we wanted to start at the top.”

Ms. Clark’s compensation has been reduced by 40 percent through the end of August. The salaries of the executive staff, which includes the artistic director David Binder, were slashed by about a third for the same duration.

BAM has been largely shut down since March 13, when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people. Its movie theaters closed the following day, and before Monday’s announcement, many live events had already been canceled, including the New York premiere of Duncan Macmillan’s “Lungs,” starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, musical performances by Holly Herndon and the DanceAfrica Festival. This is the first time that the annual celebration of African cultures, BAM’s longest running program, has been canceled since it began in 1977.

Discussions are ongoing, Ms. Clark said, about what the revenue shortfall caused by almost four months of cancellations will ultimately mean for the center’s employees.

A news release on Monday said that the organization “is faced with a number of difficult options to ensure its financial stability and ability to invest in programming going forward.” According to the statement, those options include further program reductions, reduced pay for administrative staff, furloughs and layoffs.

While programming is on hold, BAM is sharing performances and talks from its archive and streaming films through its website.