JAMESTOWN, NY – Art Patrons Cathy and Jesse Marion want to help save the Prendergast Library’s Art Collection.
Jesse Marion attended Thursday’s board meeting of the James Prendergast Library. During public comment, Marion explained to the board that he and his wife Cathy (who is originally from the Jamestown area) would like to donate the money necessary to restore and maintain the library’s $3.17 million art collection.
Marion said he and his wife feel that a community like Jamestown is extremely fortunate to have the caliber of art on display in the library, and it should be kept and maintained so it can be an education tool for local students and residents – many of whom will never have the opportunity to go to Buffalo, Cleveland or NYC to see this type of work in person.
Board president Tom Rankin said the estimated cost to properly restore the entire collection (reframe, clean, etc.) as well as create a space that can properly accommodate it could cost as much as $250,000 total.
Rankin said he’ll be in touch with Mr. Marion to discuss further. More details on the offer expected in the coming weeks.
BUDGET CUTS MADE, MORE EXPECTED
In the meantime, the board continues to wrestle with the 2016 budget. Several cuts were presented and acted on during Thursday’s meeting, with more cuts also possible.
The board Thursday approved a motion to eliminate one full-time position and eliminate $1500 contribution to every FT employee’s health insurance deductibles, and $30,000 to purchase new library materials (books, e-books, DVDs, magazines, etc.)
It also approved a motion to close library on Sundays, starting Sunday, Nov. 1.
The library may have to make further cuts to its budget. The city of Jamestown – which has contributed $365,000 the past few years – is facing its own budget crunch. That’s led the mayor to call for a $15,000 cut in funding to the library for 2016. That cut may be even higher once the city council amends the spending plan.
SELLING ART TO BALANCE TO BOOKS
Earlier this year the board began to consider auctioning off several pieces of the library’s $3.17 million collection in order to help balance the 2016 budget. The library has already entered into an agreement with Sotheby’s Auction House. Proceeds from any sale would be placed in the library’s endowment, resulting in annual returns from interest.
Some community members are against selling any pieces in the collection. They’ve spoken out against it during both the September and October board meetings, as well as during a Jamestown city council meeting. They’ve even started their own Facebook page entitled “Save Local Art” in order to draw attention to the issue.
In response the opposition to the artwork sale, the board has asked for fundraising ideas that could be used to help inject a large amount of money into the budget, so it wouldn’t have to sell any items from the art collection.
More details from that front are expected on Tuesday when the library hosts a public meeting, inviting residents to learn more about upcoming fundraising opportunities and to also offer their own ideas. That meeting will take place at 5:15pm Tuesday, Oct. 27 at the library.