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Contemporary Art Museum reaches challenge goal

The Cement facade of Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
The Contemporary Art Museum, in Grand Center

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – The Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis is on better financial footing after meeting a challenge grant.

Board member Emily Rauh Pulitzer promised $5 million if the museum could raise its own $5 million, as well as keep its budget balanced for three years.

She says the museum was struggling with debt payments, adding it's hard to raise money for contemporary museums "because the people who would support it normally have never heard of the artist because they're young and not well known on the whole.

"[Also] there isn't a permanent collection to go back to," Pulitzer added. "But not having that gives the institution much more freedom to be adventuresome and creative."

Museum Director Paul Ha says the money raised will strengthen the endownment at the still-young non-profit.

"every September when we open our doors at the beginning of the season, we're starting from zero," Ha said, in an interivew. "So, come August, we're thinking how do we raise money to do our September show?'

"So with the endowment, it gives us that little bit of cushion where we don't have to scramble from the beginning."

The Contemporary moved into its current building in Grand Center four years ago.

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