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Laguna Art Gets New President, $60,000 Gift

September 18, 1997|ZAN DUBIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

LAGUNA BEACH — The Laguna Art Museum will finally receive $60,000 from the estate of Barbara Steele Williams, a museum president during the 1970s, trustees announced Tuesday at their annual meeting. The dispersal had been delayed for two years while executors assessed the museum's viability, museum officials said.

After merging with the former Newport Harbor Art Museum last year, the Laguna museum operated for nine months as a satellite of the consolidated Orange County Museum of Art until regaining its autonomy in April.

The Laguna museum, with a $600,000 annual operating budget, is running in the black, trustees said at the organization's first annual meeting since becoming independent.

In other business, the trustees elected Janet Eggers, who had been board vice president, as president, replacing G. Ray Kerciu.

Meanwhile, OCMA is seeking to hire an assistant to chief curator Bruce Guenther, a vacancy created by the departure of Bolton Colburn, now the Laguna museum's director. The museum's help-wanted ad, published in the American Assn. of Museum's nationwide newsletter, described the "desired qualifications" as, among other things, expertise in 19th and early 20th century American art.

OCMA focuses on art from the early 19th century to the present. Museum director Naomi Vine said Tuesday that the job description does not signal a new emphasis on pre-World War II art. Expertise in that period is desirable but not required in a new curator, she said.

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