MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For 45 years, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre has hosted a beloved MayDay celebration in south Minneapolis, but due to financial pressures, this year’s event could be the last. At the least, it will be the last the organization hosts on its own.

In the Heart of the Beast announced Wednesday that it will significantly reduce its operations this year, adding that there will be cuts to staffing and programming.

“This has been a difficult process,” executive director Corrie Zoll said in a statement. “After a lot of hard work, we determined that we simply cannot continue on our current path.”

In the Heart of the Beast’s biggest event of the year is its MayDay celebration, and the 2019 event is still scheduled for May 5.

“Whatever the future…MayDay 2019 will be a celebration of all that has been and all that is to come,” the group’s announcement said.

The beloved spring-time celebration has been a staple of life in south Minneapolis for decades, drawing thousands of people to the area each year. The celebration features a spectacular parade with large, hand-built puppets and masks, some of which are more than 10-feet tall.

The MayDay celebration typically brings in $150,000 for In the Heart of the Beast, but it costs between $180,000 to $200,000 to produce, the organization says.

Last year’s event went $50,000 over budget, and the costs had to be covered by reserve funds. In the Heart of the Beast’s management says the organization can’t continue to operate as it has while taking such large financial losses.

According to its statement, In the Heart of the Beast will speak with artists, partners and neighbors in the near future about ways the organization might restructure. It also encouraged its supporters to donate, which can be done here.

In the Heart of the Beast also noted that its struggles with financial support are shared by other mid-sized arts organizations in the Twin Cities, many of which rely on individual donors and receiving increasingly competitive grants.

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