The recent piece on the Santa Monica Museum of Art (Times, Aug. 21), although most welcome, contains several errors which need clarification. I am writing this letter on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the many volunteers and members of the community who are dedicating time and resources to assure the success of this project.
Some unnamed detractors suggest the museum has "little grass-roots support from artists and the community." Nothing could be further from the truth. Although the museum interior has not been renovated, we are presenting a series of installations utilizing the raw building space. These events will run through November. The initial installation by David Bunn received rave reviews in the press, including The Times. The projects for this "Preview" series were selected by a panel consisting of artists Michael Asher and John Baldessari; Steven Durland, editor, High Performance Magazine; Nora Halpern, curator, the Frederick R. Weisman collection, and Franz van Rossum, dean, Cal Arts school of music.
The museum has an active group of 25 volunteers from the local area, plus several interns who devote many hours each week to membership development and to manning the museum's exhibitions. This group is growing by the day. An opening reception, attended by more than 1,000 people, was supported by local restaurants, institutions and companies, which donated food, transportation, printing and other services. These included the California Institute for the Arts, city of Santa Monica, Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica College, the Long Beach Museum of Art and others. During the search, which led to the selection of our fine director, Tom Rhoads, we were assisted by representatives of many organizations including the Getty Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Surely this speaks to our "grass-roots" support.