Standard & Poor Announces Upgrades to Art Institute of Chicago's Bond Rating

Standard & Poor's announced today that it raised the Art Institute of Chicago's long-term bond rating to AA- with a stable outlook from A+ positive outlook. In its release, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services cited numerous factors that contributed to the upgrade, singling out "strong institutional leadership and management to produce such results in a stressful economic environment" as well as a consistently sound operating performance and continued plan of scheduled debt reduction. The rationale also included the Art Institute's ratio of resources to operating expenses and debt; the prestigious reputations of both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago; and the successful completion of the Art Institute's most recent capital campaign, for the building of the museum's Modern Wing, with 95% of pledges collected.

Frederick H. Waddell, Treasurer of the Art Institute of Chicago, said, "We are very pleased with this recognition of the leadership and financial position of the Art Institute. The institution has posted operating surpluses in eight of the last nine years, and by every historic measure, its financial position and balance sheet are as robust as they have ever been. I am certain that with the commitment and support of the management, staff, trustees, and supporters of the Art Institute, we will remain in a strong position over the coming years."

The Art Institute of Chicago consists of both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the museum of the Art Institute of Chicago. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of art in the United States and enjoys a national and international reputation for the quality of its collections, exhibitions, and programming. It has one of the largest membership bases of American museums and hosts approximately 1.5 million visitors per year. U.S. News and World Report recently improved its ranking of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), naming it the number two Master of Fine Arts program in the country, and this fall SAIC welcomed its largest and most selective incoming class in history.




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by Barry Kostrinsky