Thursday, April 23, 2009

"The pie is shrinking"

The Wall Street Journal has a story today on the search by "financially strapped" colleges for ways to find "the cash for urgent needs in a deep recession." It says "colleges posted average investment losses of 23% from July 1 to Nov. 30, and markets have fallen more since. Administrators are bracing for the sharpest drop in giving since 1975 .... Already, institutions are laying off employees, calling off tenure searches and scrapping construction plans."

The story focuses primarily on Connecticut's Trinity College's plan to dip into a restricted endowment, but it also mentions the following:

"Plans to sell artwork have also sparked conflict. Nashville's Fisk University is in litigation over its plans to sell paintings given by Ms. O'Keeffe. In January, Brandeis University ... announced it would close its Rose Art Museum and sell its 7,000-piece collection ... to pay faculty salaries and other expenses. The Rose family, which gave money to establish the museum, is upset by what it calls the potential 'plundering' of the $350 million collection. Brandeis now says it plans to sell 'a limited number' of pieces, if any, and expects to keep the museum open as a 'teaching and exhibition gallery.'"

The Art Market Monitor says the story "illustrates that Brandeis University’s attempt to access the Rose Museum as additional capital to offset the school’s damaged endowment is not an isolated incident. Other schools are not fixating on art but they are looking for assets."