Thu, 29 Nov 2007 22:01:15 -0500


"Karol Lawson" <karolannlawson@AOL.COM> 


[MUSEUM-L] Maier Museum of Art



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The four paintings taken from the
Maier Museum of Art on October 1 for sale at Christies (Nov. 19 and 29) were spared by an injunction from the Circuit Court in Lynchburg, upheld by the Virginia supreme court on Nov. 16. However, that injunction will expire Monda, December 3 unless a $1 million bond is raised to extend it six months. While the immediate threat from fall auctions is past, the Randolph College trustees could still sell the works--privately, for example--if the injunction expires. 

A vigorous fund-raising campaign is under way in
Lynchburg. $500,000 has been raised thus far (in only two weeks, and during Thanksgiving) and legal efforts are underway to extend the deadline. Students are raising money on campus (one gave her savings from two summers of work). Friends of the Maier and alumnae, faculty, staff, and museum volunteers are giving as well.

The court cases brought by Preserve Educational Choice (the alumnae group organizing the effort) will make new law concerning charitable gifts to non-profits. This, like the situation at
Fisk University, is of crucial importance for museums of all types across the nation.

I hope you can participate in our efforts. No gift is too small. And if you choose to help by forwarding this to others, that would be much appreciated.
I have attached below a fund-raising challege keyed to the history of the Bellows' acquisition 87 years ago.

Thank you.

Karol Lawson
former director,
Maier Museum of Art 


The Maier 2500 Campaign:

An urgent, community-wide effort to save the art collection at the Maier Museum


In 1920, George Bellows' masterpiece, Men of the Docks, came to Randolph-Macon Woman's College to enrich the College and Lynchburg community because of the efforts of many individuals working together. The student newspaper from that year reported,


"The painting by George Bellows, 'The Men of the Docks,' practically belongs here, for all but about $250 of the purchase price, $2, 500.00, has been pledged by public subscription…Yesterday one friend of the college donated $24 and another $50…Who would like to give the next hundred dollars?"


What you may not know is that 80% of the painting's purchase price was raised by students, alumnae, faculty, and Lynchburg citizens and that the permanent collection of art at the College was envisioned from the very beginning to benefit not just the students of R-MWC but the people especially the children of Lynchburg, with art loaned for display in Lynchburg's schools, and with the Museum's current Art & SOL tour program which serves all Lynchburg School children. Central to this vision was a requirement that the permanent collection, for which the Bellows was purchased by the Randolph-Macon Art Association of Lynchburg, be "open at all times to the Lynchburg public."  


Now we need to pull together again as a community to raise $1 million by December 3 to bring Men of the Docks and other paintings back from the auction block and a chance to keep the Collection intact for future generations.


(The Supreme Court of Virginia has issued a temporary injunction on the sale of the art but it requires a bond to extend it. Without the bond, the art could be sold as early as December 4, well before the lawsuits related to keeping the art in Lynchburg are finished.)


Please honor our kindred spirits from 1920 and their vision of establishing a cultural legacy for the benefit of their children by donating today to efforts to keep these treasures in Lynchburg.


Let's try to raise $500,000 directly from our friends and neighbors in this community to protect the art.

In memory of the original Bellows purchase price, please contribute in increments and variations of 25:


$25,000 - $2,500 - $250 - $25

Gifts of $250,000 are welcome as are gifts of $0.25!


It will take only 2,000 donations of $250 to meet the $500,000 goal. Please give as you are able and send this request on to friends and family in Lynchburg and surrounding communities. Building the Collection was a community-wide effort that began 100 years ago and saving the Collection should be a community-wide effort as well. Please contribute so that this cultural resource will continue to enrich our lives today and those of our descendents for the next 100 years. The whole nation is now aware of the stellar art treasures housed within our community let's do everything we can to keep them here.


Preserve Educational Choice is coordinating efforts to preserve the R-MWC art, so please make checks payable to PEC but be sure to write in the memo line "Art Defense Fund 2500."


All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law and every penny in this fund goes directly to efforts to keep the art in Lynchburg. PEC is a volunteer organization based in Richmond -- none of the Art Defense Fund goes to overhead expenses or other efforts to preserve Randolph-Macon Woman's College as a strong woman's college.


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


More information about the art issue may be found at as well as a link to make donations to the Art Defense Fund via credit card through PayPal.