Pledge Drive Time for LACMA Film

What's with these gangstery tactics in museum fund-raising lately? Last June, a Long Beach councilman intimated they might have sell off the Long Beach Museum of Art's collectionunless the museum raised $3 million. That followed threats earlier this year of shuttering Florida's struggling John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art — unless the money came in. Even Brandeis' University's plan to nuke the Rose Art Museum was seen, in more paranoid circles, as a veiled pledge drive. Now Michael Govan, who set off a tsunami of protest by downsizing LACMA's film program, says the program can be saved, after all. It'll cost $5 million. No, make that $10 million.
Govan's ransom note may be working. He says he'll be meeting with likely donors next week. The ultimatums in Long Beach and Sarasota don't seem to have raked in much cash (and had something to do with the surprise resignation of Ringling director John Wetenhall).
There's some funny math going on. LACMA's film program, it's said, has lost $1 million over the past decade. That's a mere $100,000 a year. An endowment of $2.5 million could generate that at a 4 percent withdrawal rate. Is Govan planning on reviving the program he just axed and quadrupling its budget? That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. But the first rule of museum fund-raising is that what donors are willing to give often has little to do with what museums need, and vice-versa.


Donald Frazell said…
The LBMA stole from the City, they made financial promises on leant sums, and need to pay it back just like everyone else. Why should spoiled, soft and lazy artistes, who dont know how to manage money, be left off the hook? The irresposnbile must be punished, or at least held accountable, novel ideas in our times to be sure.

We tax payers must get our money back. We got homeless, services and kids to look after, things more important than the lousy collection at that museum. Unlike the Museum of Latin American Art, which is run properly and connected to the community, it has been the haven for the MFA art wannabe's. No one has stepped up because it does not address the needs of the people. It is a beautiful place, great for breakfast and weddings and concerts, but silly and weak and pompous in art.

Art is for the living, and about life. These places cater to the few, the decadent, the overeducated who are self seperated and above the rest of us. They know what is best for us. Riiiiiight.

art collegia delenda est

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