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MET Closing ... Guess who's Eating the Loan ... duh

You and I, the tax payers of Fresno. What a Joke!

See Bee article at the link below!

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Comment by SIN on December 18, 2009 at 9:34am
Comment by Art Zocalo on December 18, 2009 at 8:40am
In addition to the statement that MET "Membership and attendance is down too, in large part because of falling tourism."

I believe that is true but the non-support is also due to the Postmodern mindset that is directed towards Modernism's' tenets and institutions. Everything that can be shaken has been called into question, stripped of any legitimacy and re-defined in a a multitude of ways.

Institutions and their symbols have fallen and the multitudes who supported them are no longer there!

In the 50's Americans united by WW2 and proud to be American participated in the American Experience: they believed in the institutions of America, the church, banking system, government, Baseball, Cultural Arts, etc. However with the advent of the Atomic Bomb came also the realization that autonomous Man and his science was perhaps not the hope of a better world but a sign of mans self-destruction. This skepticism came to a head in the 60's and marked the birth of a New World freed from the traditions which bound us together as one people. In the future the 60's may be looked upon as the re-birth and resurgence of tribalism with its demands for mutual freedom, respect and rights. Globalization is an unsustainable myth without a unified worldview. Postmodernism does not allow this!

For many artists, the MET and NY as the center of the Art world are symbols of the illusion that Dinosaurs still rule the earth. In the old days Momma Met NY was the place where all serious artists worshiped before paying tribute to other Galleries. That world no longer exists, ... on ArtHop here in Fresno very few artists flock to the MET.
Comment by Art Zocalo on December 18, 2009 at 7:45am

The Momma MET NY's February 2009 Letter stating its financial struggle and hopes for the future can be read at the link below!
Comment by Art Zocalo on December 18, 2009 at 7:41am
Here's a quote from an articile by Carol Vogel about Momma MET NY

Met Museum to Close Shops, Freeze Hiring

Metropolitan Museum of Art

In response to the global economic crisis, James R. Houghton, chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, posted a letter on the institution’s Web site on Friday announcing that the Met had decided to close 15 of its satellite shops around the country. A year ago the Met ran a total of 23 stores but over the last year it has quietly closed 8, including three in California and one at the South Street Seaport Museum in lower Manhattan. It now plans to close an additional seven, and will instead concentrate on its online shop and has recently redesigned its mail order catalog. Mr. Houghton also said that the museum had imposed a hiring freeze and is curtailing staff travel and entertainment as well as the use of temporary employees. It is also in the process of a museum-wide assessment of its expenses to see how it can further reduce costs. Emily Rafferty, the Met’s president, said Monday that “we cannot eliminate the possibility of a head-count reduction.” The museum’s endowment, which provides about 30 percent of its annual operating revenue, has decreased 25 percent since June 30, 2008 to $2.1 billion from $2.8 billion. Membership and attendance is down too, in large part because of falling tourism.

Below are several responses by various readers:

# 1 February 23, 2009

Long overdue.

Museums are financial sinkholes. They may be a neighborhood asset and even a national asset (like the Met) but most museums have never even balanced their books. They depend on donations to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. This is why they are the first to go in a recession.

Honestly, museums have to come up with a new financial model to make them lean and more flexible. They need to somehow turn their assets (what they have in storage) into more profit-making assets so they can at least balance their books. It’s just like any other American household or business - they need to learn how to balance their costs with income.

I suggest they incorporate live shows with celebrities on their premises. They could make much more money on their prime real estate by hosting musicals and plays and letting the art be a part of it somehow.
— G

# 2. February 23, 2009 4:30 pm

Financial sinkholes; political jungles, too.
— cp

# 3. February 23, 2009

the “museums are financial sinkholes comment; It’s not clear to me that everything in the world needs, or should be, to be a “profit making” enterprise.

The business model of museums is perfectly valid: ask for donations and get them. As long as there are donors with adequate income, who believe that the museums’ mission is valid, it works. When the money spigot stops, they have to adjust.

What’s the matter with that?
— steve

# 4. February 23, 2009

The previous comment obviously comes from a person who has never worked in a museum, or cherished the educational opportunities they offer to all audiences.

Most museums are non-profit, not that this is an excuse or gives cause for negligent spending, but as such they are not expected to make a mint. They provide a public service, you should try supporting them and valuing what they have to offer rather than yelling that they can’t follow a budget or bring in major revenue.

As a museum professional, I understand the Met’s cutbacks as my institution has had similar losses. My hope is the the communities will rally around these instiutions, dig-deep and advocate in any way for their continued existence.
— nic

# 5. February 23, 2009

Now there’s an institution I have trouble feeling sorry for. In their basement alone they have thousands of works of art that any small regional museum would kill for, but that only scholars are currently allowed to see. Start sending out some of that stuff on tour if you need cash….
— slobone

# 6. February 23, 2009

The arts have never been a commercial profit-making enterprise nor should they be; quite similar to highways, public transportation, schools, etc.
— Paul L

# 7. February 23, 2009

While I agree with “G” that the arts do not directly pay for themselves on an economic level, this is simply not the way art and culture in general can be measured.

I would not subsidize a museum before I would a soup kitchen, but once people’s bellies have been fed, I think feeding our minds, hearts and souls is valuable for our children and society at large. In large part it is the only thing that raises us above simply existing as animals on this rock we call home.

The loss of the stores is not tragic, but it is troublesome. They not only represented a (potential?) source of income for the Met, they also acted as an outreach and marketing arm for the institution, promoting tourism to the museum and NYC in general.
— Lance

# 8. February 23, 2009

“Financial sinkholes: political jungles”. Wow! Who knew? Let’s get rid of the damn things then. Who really needs them anyway? In addition, they often occupy prime real estate that could easily be turned into hard cash. Out with them, I say!

aka Jonathan Swift
Comment by John English on December 17, 2009 at 11:59am
You know, I could say a lot here, but I won't. Personally I've given nearly a decade of my life to the Fresno arts community. That has been rewarding to me.

I had typed three more paragraphs and I'm not going to share them. It's counterproductive. What's happened has happened, and I'll refer you to the earlier thread for a full "Met response."

Cynthia, thank you for your kind words, I appreciate them personally. Victor, you as well. I wish you the best of luck in continuing the good work both of you and so many others are doing for the arts in Fresno.
Comment by Art Zocalo on December 16, 2009 at 5:52pm
The assumption that "If you build it they will come," is true" but it doesn't mean they will continue to come and it will thrive. There must be a strategy for involving people in order for them to take ownership and get them so excited that they keep coming back! Ex. The thrill of winning the jackpot by feeding the slot machine coin and coin keeps the Casino full on the weekends. Gamblers are involved and hopeful, and even though they may loose 25 before they win 1 its enough excitement to keep them coming back. It's probably better to say "if you create a rewarding experience people will engage."
Comment by Victor Ramayrat on December 16, 2009 at 5:12pm
I think that a closure could happen to any business or non-profit organization, especially in this climate, where philanthropic giving has been at its lowest.

One thing that I wish the City (and County) would do is to be more pro-active and not reactive to the plight of the arts industry here in Fresno. What we need is to make the audience pie much bigger than what it is now, so that the arts as an industry would thrive.

A rising tide lifts all boats...

My 2c.

Comment by SIN on December 16, 2009 at 9:53am
Comment by Art Zocalo on December 16, 2009 at 9:42am
"Money talks, S _ _ t walks!"

Anyhow the MET doesn't own the building our illustrious City Council/citizens do!

Give me a break!
Comment by Art Zocalo on December 16, 2009 at 9:40am
Much of the problems we face were created by leaders serving the powerful and the few. While they started with good intentions they allowed themselves to be swept away, manipulated against the common good of the people they are supposed to lead. If we continue to be dumb sheep led to the slaughter we have no one to blame accept ourselves! We live in a complacent even fatalistic society that needs to wake up, just look at how many people voice an opinion here on this social networking site. Getting upset is good when it leads to transformation!

Your dream is admirable but in the elitist World "Money talks, S _ _ t walks!"

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