Claremont Museum of Art to Discontinue Operation in the Packing House

(December 22, 2009) – On December 21, the Claremont Museum of Art Board of Directors voted to discontinue operation of the Museum in The Packing House and place the permanent collection in a secure storage facility. The board will continue working to rejuvenate the Claremont Museum of Art in the next few years as the economy improves. The Museum will be open 11:00 am to 5:00 pm for two final days on December 26 and 27.

As you know, the Claremont Museum of Art nearly closed its doors in October. Thanks to funding from the City of Claremont, the Museum has remained open through 2009. For the past six weeks, a working group of board members and volunteers has been striving to find a way to move forward. The group has met twice weekly and prepared a business plan for 2010, communicated with our supporters and the media, and held several fund raising campaigns. The group determined that it would cost $213,000 to operate the Museum for one year on a modest budget with one employee and a large group of dedicated volunteers

The museum has received over $5,000 in donations from the initial letter sent to supporters. A fund raising project is underway to sell 15 ceramic Torso sculptures cast from Harrison McIntosh’s original 1940s mold for $5,000 each. So far, we have received four orders and the first castings will be completed soon after the first of the year.

An Art Book Signing event for members was held on Friday, December 11 and was well attended despite the cold wet weather. The Art Book Sale continued through the weekend and visitors made holiday ornaments at the free Family Art Day on Sunday. Thanks to many area museums and other donors, all $3,500 in proceeds from the sales will benefit the CMA. The Museum will use proceeds from the Torso and book sales to pay remaining debts.

To raise funds for our 2010 operations, The Working Group held a phone campaign and gathered over 50 pledges totaling $26,255. Unfortunately, this is only enough to remain open for six weeks. Without any immediate prospects for additional donations, we do not see any way to continue operation in The Packing House location. Therefore, pledges will not be collected. However, the Museum’s debts are not yet fully paid and there will be additional costs to move out of the current location, so supporters have been asked to turn all or part of their pledge into a donation.

The Working Group has already begun looking at ways to remain a functioning entity and to begin to restructure and rebuild. As voiced by Founding President, Marguerite McIntosh: “With a group of dedicated leaders, we shall continue as a museum without walls. We shall offer the public the best talent that Claremont has and continues to produce as a reputed center of art.” We will keep you informed as the Claremont Museum of Art moves forward.

The exhibition An Enduring Legacy: New Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection is currently on view along with Ten Pound Ape: Your Mother was Beautiful Once, part vier an interactive installation.