The Bowers Museum--which received a $10,000 grant from the California Arts Council in 1988--will not receive a penny of the $49,601 it asked this year.
The museum's ranking by the CAC fell from 3 to 2 on the council's 4-point scale, bringing it below the minimum level to qualify for funds.
No other previously funded group was denied a grant by the council this year, and none of the 21 groups being considered by the council fell so far in the rankings.
Bowers officials are not surprised.
"The results are terribly disappointing but not unexpected," Josie De Falla, the museum's associate director, said Monday. "It has to do with the institution being in such a state of transition, particularly in a couple of leadership positions. The directorship and the curator of education both changed during last year. We didn't have that continuity."
Bowers director Paul Piazza resigned in May and has yet to be replaced. The position of director of education was vacant for four months before Scoti Erdmann was hired in April.
"Also, our galleries are closed," De Falla said, "and we are preparing for construction (in connection with a planned expansion). The fact that we're going to be closed for probably two years definitely has an impact.
"The ironic part is that the project that we submitted (for the $49,601 grant) was, I feel, very meritorious. It was for the strengthening and enhancement of our educational outreach program, which goes out to the schools. We were going to add a bilingual component and strengthen materials that go to teachers and tour guides.
"But (the Arts Council) looks at the institution as a whole, and that takes priority over (a particular) program."
De Falla said the museum will "examine more closely some of the regional resources," both public and private, that might pay for outreach programs.