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Will the Getty Come A-Tumblin' Down?

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The Getty has a nearly-three-decades-long reputation of being an unabashedly wealthy organization with lofty cultural ideals. Launched in 1982, the Trust was put in place to assure late tycoon J. Paul Getty's vision of bringing art to the people and spreading knowledge. Despite some growing pains (and what billionaire family doesn't have a little scandal now and then?) the Getty, predominantly associated with their two local museums, has remained a stalwart figure in the local and international art scene. But the Getty isn't impervious to the fickle fate of finances, and last December, the Trust revealed that their endowment monies had shrunk by 25%.

Now the Trust "is slashing its operating budget nearly 25% for the coming fiscal year, an emergency response to investment losses that have totaled $1.5 billion since July and nearly $2 billion since mid-2007," the LA Times is reporting.

Getty Trust President James Wood has plans to keep the empire from crumbling, but that means curbing spending on staffing, exhibits, and new acquisitions. But the cuts must come soon, as Wood says "the financial stability of the Getty, the world's richest arts institution, could 'fall off a huge cliff' if it delayed drastic cuts and hard times continued." And "cliff-falling" jokes are no laughing matter when your flagship campus sits atop a massive hill.