Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's the starving professor sale!!! This weekend at the Ramada - No painting over $29.99!!!

Ok, so maybe Brandeis closing their museum and selling their art collection isn't exactly the same as the STARVING ARTISTS' SALES that dot the Northeast every January.

"The move shocked local arts leaders and drew harsh criticism from Rose supporters and the Association of College and University Museums and Galleries.

Michael Rush, the Rose Art Museum director, only learned of the decision late yesterday afternoon, hours after the university's board of trustees voted unanimously to close the 48-year-old museum.

In an interview last night, he estimated the collection’s value could top $350 million. Still, the director and other museum supporters took issue with the university's decision, which came after endowment losses and a sharp slowdown in fund-raising.

"I'm in shock," said Mark Bessire, the recently named director of the Portland Museum Of Art. "This is definitely not the time to be selling paintings, anyway. The market is dropping. I'm just kind of sitting here sweating because I can't imagine Brandeis would take that step."

This is going to be a consistent theme in my opinion. Universities are going to face challenges on many fronts. They had become accustomed to outsized gains in their endowments and had not budgeted for more normalized returns (or heaven forbid.....losses - gasp!!). Thus, because the infrastructure costs are so static, many universities are going to be looking for alternative revenue sources (fees, lower standards to increase enrollment, etc).

Hey, I'll ease their pain - I'll prepay tuition today for a 2018 start date if you give me a 60% discount :)


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