The Indianapolis Museum of Art has announced it will pay off more than $17 million in outstanding debt by the end of the year. The museum says it will be the first time since 2004 that it has a debt portfolio of less than $100 million.
The IMA says it currently spends about $3.5 million per year on interest payments. Charles Venable, museum director and chief executive officer, says those payments hinder the museum and could be used to fund programs at the IMA and staff.
"One of our main priorities at this time is to improve the guest experience and capital is needed to do that well," said Venable. "We need to be investing more in exceptional experiences with art and nature for our guests, and paying off our outstanding debt will over time make funds available to do this."
The IMA Board of Governors extended Venable’s contract last month. He will remain his his position through January 1, 2026. Museum Chief Financial Officer Jerry Wise says the IMA is on the road to financial stability, as it has dropped its endowment draw rate to just under 5.5 percent.
"Paying down the principal on our debt is a significant step in ensuring a sustainable future for the IMA," says Wise. "We have been able to do more with less, and continue to grow with a record number of members. We are improving not only financially, but also qualitatively as an organization."
The museum says its ultimate goal is to bring the draw rate down to less than 5 percent.