On behalf of the staff and trustees of the Santa Monica Museum of Art, I am writing to correct several factual errors in Tracy Wilkinson's recent article about the Edgemar development in Santa Monica (Times, Jan. 15).
First, and most serious among the misstatements, is the assertion that SMMOA is a "private" institution. This simply is not true. While I appreciate all the good press that the museum has received in The Los Angeles Times, the repeated characterization of SMMOA as a private museum is erroneous. The statement misrepresents the museum's legal status, and it is extremely harmful to our fund-raising efforts.
The Santa Monica Museum of Art is a bona fide, tax-exempt and nonprofit organization wholly supported by public dollars. Operating independent of municipal support, SMMOA's programs and operations are nonetheless publicly funded.
More than 250 individuals have become members of the museum during the past four months, grants have been received from charitable foundations, corporations and governmental agencies, and a devoted group of 40 volunteers and nine trustees have given freely of their time, money and expertise to make SMMOA a reality. Any recognition of the museum's considerable accomplishments would have to acknowledge the collective effort and public good will of this loyal group of friends.