Friday, January 30, 2009

Closing the Rose

In a colossal failure of public relations, donor cultivation, and fiscal management, Brandeis recently announced their intention to close the Rose Art Museum and sell off their entire collection of art. At least they haven’t yet torched the collection for the insurance money, though they may consider that when they discover that potential buyers live in the same economic climate as Brandeis, and aren’t eager to pay anywhere close to the inflated appraised value of the collection.

Now the Brandeis COO has come forward to explain that the only other choice is to cripple the university. After all, they only have $530 million in their endowment, and a fictitious law prevents Brandeis from using it for anything. These false cries of poverty and pantomimed acts of desperation mimic the North Shore Music Theatre, which is still raising money despite having basically closed down, all the while refusing to refund subscribers who already paid for a non-existent next season. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum claims the museum will die from overcrowding if they are not allowed to fully break the terms of Mrs. Gardner’s will, proving that even long-lasting financial success is no protection from the idle whims and compulsive attention-seeking of those who deign to run our cultural and educational institutions today.

Deaccessioning is not new, theaters have never lasted forever, and the insult to the Gardner’s architecture will not ultimately destroy everything charming about the place. But this string of news is destroying the trust that we should be able to have in our cultural and educational institutions, because the institutions no longer even pretend to respect their supporters and patrons. Just ask Lois Foster.


Michael said...

North Shore Music Theatre has finally shut down, after spending many months taking money in and spending it on themselves while refusing to refund subscribers. I pity the theater that eventually opens in their place and tries to convince people to become subscribers.

Michael said...

In a stunning display of community spirit, a dozen local theaters have joined forces to offer free tickets to NSMT subscribers who were screwed by the NSMT’s mismanagement. Kudos to the participating theaters.