Several signatories have been laid off since the issuing of the letter. Following Rondeau’s Zoom call announcement of the layoffs, affected workers were informed in one-on-one meetings with department heads over the subsequent three days. The Art Institute has now reduced its number of full-time staffers by 51 people, largely due to economic fallout resulting from the pandemic. The institution, which welcomes 1.6 million visitors in a normal year, projects a reduction in visitors of 70 percent following a five-month shutdown. The Art Institute is currently preparing to reopen its doors in late July; the decision was met with concerns by staff about their overall safety as the institution reopens.
The letter, which posed various alternatives to layoffs, also raised concerns that the cuts, which amount to roughly eight percent of museum staff, would disproportionately impact young, low-paid, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) members of the staff. A museum spokesperson, Kati Murphy, told ARTnews
the decision process was “conducted in a manner that ensured the results were fair and consistent with our commitment to equity and diversity.”