The Art Institutes of America (AIA) announced on Thursday that the nation’s largest arts center, the Art Institute, would close by the end of this year.
The move comes amid a slowdown in the economy and a drop in attendance by many attendees, especially those from wealthy states.
The AIA’s board of directors voted unanimously to cut the Art Institutes budget by almost half and reduce the size of the organization’s staff.
In an effort to help its staff, the organization also announced a new program to make arts education more affordable and accessible.
“The AHA’s leadership team has been working tirelessly over the last few months to create a world-class arts institution in the heart of Chicago,” AIA CEO David DeWitt said in a statement.
“We have reached a tipping point with the decline in our audiences, and we have seen an unprecedented number of families and artists come to us for help.
We are proud of what we have achieved and will continue the work we have started.”
The AIF’s chief executive officer, James Bowers, said in the statement that the Art Foundation of America would be in charge of funding the new arts institute.”AIF’s mission is to inspire and support young artists in the arts through grants and scholarships, as well as support our nation’s leading artists and designers,” he said.
“Our board of trustees, and the board of the Art Directors, will continue this mission to create the world’s most innovative, high-performing arts and education programs.”
The Art Institute will continue its program of making education more accessible to low-income students, as the Art Center of Chicago, which opened in 2014, will no longer offer classes on its campus.
The arts center will instead offer a “learning hub” that will serve as a “virtual arts community,” according to the AIA.
The organization will also close the Art Arts Academy, a three-year program that offers a $25,000 scholarship each year to eligible students who demonstrate excellence in the creative arts.