A group opposed to the merger of the Laguna and Newport Harbor art museums has set a Wednesday deadline for Laguna museum trustees to sign an agreement promising to keep it open.
If the trustees do not, Save Laguna Art Museum will resume its opposition to the merger, SLAM president G. Ray Kerciu said.
"We'll actively pursue a 'no' vote and do whatever else is necessary to ensure our museum survives," he said.
The merger must be approved by the Laguna museum's 1,400 members by April 20. SLAM had put its opposition on hold while drafting the agreement that would keep the Laguna building open as a satellite museum.
On Thursday, SLAM proposed changes to the 80-year agreement that would allow for its reevaluation after five years. If at that point, the consolidated Orange County Museum of Art wanted out of the agreement, the other party to the pact, the Laguna Heritage Corp., would take ownership of the satellite and its permanent collection, Kerciu said. It also would get the Laguna museum's $2-million endowment. Laguna Heritage is composed largely of SLAM members. If Laguna Heritage wanted out, the Orange County Museum of Art would retain the endowment.