Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Important News- RMWC Art

I have an update on one of the stories about my college that has caused an uproar on campus and the Lynchburg community, which is the sale of 4 pieces of art to help boost the "Randolph College" allotment. These pieces of art were added to the RMWC collection early in its history, the most prized and famous being the George Bellows "Men of the Docks". The pictures were removed from campus in a two hour time period several weeks ago, with the museum director being barred from her office while the paintings were removed and wrapped in bubble wrap. The paintings were then transported to Christie's, where they are to appear in an auction on November 19th.

As a student here (and particularly an economics one) I've been horrified by the ethics , or lack thereof, from this case, and also the fact that everything at Randolph College keeps getting worse. Just when will it stop? I fail to see how the sale of "assets" (and the debate over whether art can even be considered an asset in a liberal arts college has already been decided for this blogger) will boost the endowment enough to save the school. Even it if does, the college is being ripped of one of its many treasures, that in the long run simply can't attract students. Those of us tied to R-MWC were heartbroken the night the story about the art broke, and since then it has just created an even bigger divide in this school, among the students, faculty, and community.

This is something I've been wanting to write about for some time, although my schoolwork has been my focus. Now that things are cooling off a bit, I thought I'd share some of the news stories, photos, and my personal opinion about this latest travesty.

Last week, an injunction was granted to students and former staff/students who wanted to halt the sale, although the group was given a deadline of tomorrow to come up with $10 million dollars in order for the injunction to be complete. I hope that somehow, this money has been raised, although I am deeply worried about how this art sale has damaged the college's reputation and integrity beyond repair.

Please click on the below link to read a letter in which the Virginia Association of of Museums denounces the college for this act.

Also, the most recent news story about the injunction on the art sale:!news!localnews

In this situation, the best we can do is share information about these unethical approaches to running an institution of higher education, and to stand strong about the importance of art to all students in a liberal arts college. The Maier Museum here has a long legacy of outstanding collections, and R-MWC has long been working with artists and sharing programs through which we have been able to showcase great works of art on loan. I feel sure that no museum or artist would ever feel comfortable sharing art with this school any more, and the loss of such great opportunities is devastating.

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