Monday, October 8, 2012

'I'm Proud of Our Little City and Its People Today'

Mayor David Bowers (inside right) with supporters (from right) Jenny Taubman, Bittle Porterfield and Haywood Fralin

The announcement this morning that the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke--that architectural boiling point in downtown Roanoke with the big expense ($66 million to build) and the smaller collection--is a welcome one for guys like me who favor opening the arts to the whole public.

This place has been a focal point for years for those who believe art is only for the elite. It is now for everybody because of the largesse of the elite, who will pay that admission for those who can't afford it--and for those who can. Nick Taubman's Advance Auto Parts is giving $150,000 in order to support those admissions and a new board of people with a lot of money will offset operating expenses, relieving the museum's executives and staff from the constant burden of looming bankruptcy.

The government has pretty much gotten out of the arts business (a loss to all of us in the world's richest country), so if we are to have art and culture, people with money will have to come forward and Roanoke is fortunate to have those people and that vision.

I'm proud of our little city and its people today.


  1. I wrote in another blog:

    What is one to make of the coup of the elites? The first victim – David Mickenberg. The second? Watch to see if the commitment to “transparency in all of our financial and professional endeavors” disappears from the mission statement and practice of the new regime.

    And all that recent “community” openness and inclusiveness talk? We’ll get a chance to see how sincere that was now that the puppeteers have come out from behind the curtain

    Chris VanCantfort

  2. The record shows that many of the “new” Taubman Museum Board of Trustees members were involved with the board back when the plans for the museum were being developed.

    Led by Haywood Fralin, those trustees - in their wisdom and leadership - uncritically promoted the fantastical and absurd projections that the museum would generate $30 million in revenue annually and create 500 new jobs. (

    Such leaders are the best people to fix the museum now?

  3. I meant to sign the previous comment on the "new" board members. Not anonymous.

    Chris VanCantfort

  4. Chris: Thank you for signing your name. I have much respect for those who take responsibility for their words and thoughts. Let me clarify one thing: David Mickenburg resigned. He told me that new boards deserve their own directors and he was honoring that long-held custom. I think it is a sad loss of talent, but from what he says, he was not forced out. I haven't known him to be anything but forthright and truthful.