Sat, 24 Nov 2007 11:51:32 -0500


"Karol Lawson" <karolannlawson@AOL.COM> 


[MUSEUM-L] Maier Museum of Art bond issue



Top of Form

Bottom of Form


You may have read about recent efforts by the trustees of Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College) to sell four major paintings from the permanent collection of the school's 
Maier Museum of Art. A group founded last year by alumnae of R-MWC is fighting this in the courts. I have attached a recent message from this group (Preserve Educational Choice) outlining the recent legal developments and explaining the need for a bond to ensure the safety of the art moving forward. You may have seen this or similar messages on other list serves such as AmArt. The group is also vigorously fund raising in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Karol Lawson
former director of the
Maier Museum of Art
If you have questions, please respond off-list to

Preserve Educational Choice message


Many of you have been following the fierce battle being waged in Lynchburg, Virginia to prevent the unethical deaccessioning of four paintings from the Maier Museum of Art.  Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College), of which the Maier Museum of Art is a part, removed four paintings from the Maier Museum on October 1 and shipped them to Christie's in New York to be sold at auction to add funds to the College's $153 million endowment. This action has been the subject of public letters and requests for reconsideration of the decision from the Association of Art Museum Directors, Association of Art Museum Curators, College Art Association, Association of College and University Museums and Galleries, the Southeastern Museums Conference, and the Virginia Association of Museums.
Two lawsuits have been filed to protect the art at the Maier Museum and these suits have larger implications for art professionals and museums across the nation. If Randolph College is successful in selling art from the Maier Museum for general fund purposes it could have a chilling effect on donations to other museums by making donors wary of whether or not proper deaccessioning policies will be followed (Randolph's trustees simply ignored the Maier's published deaccessioning policy) and could also encourage other institutions looking for ready cash to consider selling their museum collections for general expense purposes instead of preserving and strengthening their collections for future generations.

What can you do to help? On November 16, the Supreme Court of
Virginia upheld a temporary injunction issued by the Lynchburg Circuit Court to prevent the sale of the four paintings removed on October 1 while the related lawsuits proceed. The Court lowered the bond amount required to initiate the injunction by 90 percent to $1 million. The people of Lynchburg and alumnae of R-MWC have until December 3rd to raise this full amount.

The larger art community's help is needed to raise this amount in such a short timeframe and pay for litigation costs in the two art lawsuits. If you care about ethical deaccessioning, donor intent, the bond between museums and the public they serve, and how the sale of art to add to a generous $153 million endowment could negatively impact small museums and collections across the United States, please send a donation to the Art Defense Fund today.
To donate, please send your check to:

Preserve Educational Choice, Inc.
P.O. Box 29612
Richmond, VA 23242

Please make the check payable to "Preserve Educational Choice, Inc." and write "Art Defense Fund" on the memo line. All donations to this fund are restricted to preserving the art, not the general restoration of
Randolph-Macon Woman's College. You can also make a donation via PayPal through the PEC website. All donations are fully tax-deductible to the amount allowed by law.

More information about the art lawsuits can be found on the PEC website at including links to the art litigation filings, the letters from art professional associations, and press coverage of the issue and its implications.