Looks like at least
someone at the Oregonian is finally willing to start asking more questions
about the PNCA/MoCC merger. Good, but is it too little too late? (PORT asked these questions and more on the 1st day
)... and essentially
Row is reversing his earlier
rather wishy washy approach
with a slightly harder line? (something I've
and wish I didn't have to) These are basic questions that should have
been asked weeks ago by everyone, not
Besides, the thrust of this new article seemed
to be a complaint that nobody would talk to Row... well maybe if he took the
trouble and the care to develop more respect in the local art community that
would happen more easily. I'm not bashing here, I don't question whether mr. Row
can write, but it's not a secret that many key people do question his commitment
to art in the city and this is an ultra sensitive situation where the boards
might possibly be stretched to their limits... so do they have time for his questions? (maybe if he pouts more) On a personal level, I screwed up by not noticing the "no endowment" problem before MoCC's move... so I'm not letting anything slide.
OK so let's now look at how the University
of California Berkeley
all got their top notch university museums and collections too. These university museums somewhat define the schools they exist within, and it would be doubly true for an art school. Depending on the choices made, PNCA could really enhance or screw itself up... but without a separate endowment and serious autonomy for the museum it is definitely even more difficult to get it right.
Here are a some more things to consider, 1st off the MoCC board in charge of the
move to the the Park Blocks had a different composition than the current board...
That is a very important distinction and treating them monogenically isn't confidence
building. To date, PORT
is still the only place that has looked at the delicate nature of this merger
(one where MoCC has little if no leverage making it especially tricky)
Also, though I seriously doubt if any of them will go on record, many key local
arts professionals in Portland feel heartsick about this situation, noting it's forced situation in a way that makes them rather uncomfortable. PORT itself feels split, because that's what we do with so many individual writers. For instance, I'm taking a cautious stance and Arcy is outright against this. Another issue, there are opportunity costs here even for PNCA, which is basically
acquiring a museum with no endowment instead of the normal way of having a donor
give the college a collection and an endowment (endowments give the museum autonomy
but even in the case of Brandeis
that isn't always enough). Frankly, I want both PNCA and MoCC
to be healthy either separately or together. But let's not gloss this over,
combining the two is no simple feat and yes Portland (it's press, philanthropic
base and government) does
owe something to the 72 year old institution
to make certain all other options
have been explored. Long-standing civic institutions are the organs of the city
and it is incredibly shortsighted to let them dissolve in this very serious
economic crisis just because it's the easy way.
Thanks for the update/link to the D.K. Row post.
If there is a general silence on the blogs, it may be because it seems like there's nothing to do...the takeover is being presented to the public as a done deal, in which case it feels like the only option left, heartsick or not, is to roll out the cliches about spilled milk and barn doors.
For my own part, "heartsick" is a good way to characterize how I feel, as is "apprehensive". MoCC was poised to become a sui generis national-level establishment, a feat that can be achieved by an independent institution, but is rarely done with a university museum. If there are other options on the table, I hope PORT will let its readers know with all haste.