The Laguna Art Museum should remain independent. Founded in 1918, the Laguna Art Museum has been a significant cultural institution and an integral part of Laguna's heritage for 78 years. The Laguna artists' collection should continue to be housed in Laguna. The museum's independence and presence in Laguna is now threatened by the proposed merger with the Newport Harbor Art Museum.
Those who were Laguna Art Museum members as of Feb. 27 should vote no on the proposed merger.
Save Laguna Art Museum
The Laguna Art Museum should remain in Laguna Beach as an independent museum, not as a satellite of any future Orange County Museum of Art, nor should its collections which have great historic value be swallowed up by any regional facility.
Any merger with Newport Harbor Art Museum, or "satellite" relationship with an Orange County museum, would threaten its 80-year-old collections and dilute or compromise its mission serving California artists and art lovers worldwide from its Laguna location.
Laguna Art Museum doesn't need a merger to legitimize it for the '90s; it is already "world-class."
Sometimes progress hurts. Both the Laguna and Newport art museums have built their reputations to include prominent national stature. What good would that come to if neither can survive in today's economy? I put my faith in the people who have volunteered their time, money, hearts and minds to the successful survival of these institutions and applaud the boards' votes to merge the two museums.
Perhaps the valuable property owned by both institutions could be sold to establish a truly world-class site overlooking the ocean in the Newport Coast area--an attraction for all of Orange County and beyond, and a midpoint for the residents of the two cities who have faithfully supported their museums for decades.
The transition during the consolidation and growth beyond that will be of interest to all in our community.
I am sending in my check today for $50 toward membership in the new Orange County Museum of Art.