A private museum: the only solution to enrich the cultural offer??

I’d like to report some quotes from an editorial I just written on The Los Angeles Times focusing on the issue of the month: Eli Broad’s museum.

I’ve already written about it in two previous posts, but I think it could be interesting to hear another voice, and to try to comment it…

According to the journalist the City Council, called to decide if to give to Broad a piece of property dowontown, should say yes, because it is going to be the best thing for the public.

In fact, “There is no direct cost to the public in Broad’s proposal. He is offering to spend $100 million to build a museum, and then to contribute an additional $200 million to endow it so that its operating costs will be privately paid as well”. Even if, by giving the land via a 99-year lease at $1 a year, the city won’t take any advantage from possible sales or property taxes.

But the journalist believe that this is a good opportunity as well, if we consider the positive consequences on the urban cultural offer that this museum could have: “The city and county would get a sizable art collection and what would probably be a first-rate architectural monument. The new museum could realistically be expected to draw tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of tourists a year and would create more than 1,000 construction jobs as well as full- and part-time positions once it’s complete (…) the museum could be expected to boost the value of the property around it; that’s why Related Cos., which is struggling to develop the area in this economy, supports the project”.

And then the journalist reminds to all of us that this won’t be the only museum supported by the City Council, but that there are many others (and he takes as an example the funding to the LACMA, not taking into consideration that it is a PUBLIC COUNTY museum!!!)

So nothing but positive aspects from this project, but is it really so??

The real problem, as I already written, is that, for the editorial, the museum will enrich the cultural offer and, by supporting it, the Council is going to do something important for the public. But the editorial is a little bit arbitrary asserting that this is the most effective solution to promote culture, because there could be many other solutions to do so, because L.A. already have many museums and maybe it would be a better solution to support their activity to the public.

Because the real problem for museums it is not the lack of them (we have plenty of them, maybe too many) or a great architectural site to place them but the presence of visitors in their rooms! Museums must become closer to the public, make it come back again and again to visit the collections and the exhibitions and  to participate in the educational activities… This is going to be of public utility for real!