Monday, June 25, 2012

Mickenberg Makes an Important Statement About Being Local

David Mickenberg addresses a full house.
Taubman Museum Director David Mickenberg said a lot at his town meeting ("Taubman Talk About") tonight about all that money that's being spent, but not necessarily raised, but he said nothing more important than that the museum is interested in local and regional talent.

People are starting to get it, even people you wouldn't necessarily expect to. I would not expect that of a museum that wants to be the Bilbao of Virginia, but David was reassuring tonight. The Taubman is a museum whose reach has consistently exceeded its grasp, an art museum with great ambition in the face of some stark economic reality that has been made worse by the George Bush Economy.

The Taubman is going to find its level. I'm not sure where that will be. One of its founders and strongest supporters--Haywood Fralin--just last week had the University of Virginia's art museum named after him. He is a guy who desperately wanted the Taubman and worked tirelessly to make sure it was built. The problem then, now and tomorrow is maintaining it at $4.5 million or so a year--a figure that exceeded expenditures for the all the arts in the Roanoke Valley at the time it was built.

In any case, if this becomes one of the country's strongest supporters of local and regional art, then a whole lot of us will be content that it has a special mission that is worthy of our financial support.

(Photo: Christina Koomen.)

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