Fisk University Reaches Final Agreement to Share Stieglitz Art Collection
8/3/2012 2:50:00 PM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Melissa McNabb Office: 615-329-8555
Fisk University MJaeger@Fisk.edu
1000 Seventeenth Avenue North www.fisk.edu
Nashville, Tennessee 37208
Fisk University Reaches Final Agreement to Share the Stieglitz Art Collection
with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Nashville, Tenn. – August 3, 2012– Fisk University announced today that it has completed the agreement with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas under which Fisk and Crystal Bridges will each own a one-half undivided interest in the Stieglitz Art Collection. The agreement to share ownership with Crystal Bridges has been the subject of protracted litigation, which was finally resolved when the Tennessee Court of Appeals approved the agreement on November 29, 2011, and the Tennessee Supreme Court subsequently declined to hear an appeal of that decision.
Under the agreement, the Collection will be rotated between Fisk and Crystal Bridges on an equal time basis, which is presently planned to be a two year rotation schedule. The Collection will remain at Fisk and will be open to the public through the fall of 2013 after which it will move to Crystal Bridges.
Under the arrangement, Fisk received a payment of $30 million. Fisk has placed $100,000 of those funds into an escrow fund to be used to pay Fisk’s share of any restoration or other work needed to stabilize the art works and make them safe for travel between Fisk and Crystal Bridges. Fisk has also created a special endowment at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, into which Fisk will pay $3.9 million. That fund may be used only to pay the costs associated with the care and exhibition of the Collection.
The final details of the arrangement were approved by the Davidson County Chancery Court on August 2, 2012, following the submission of a joint motion by Fisk and the Tennessee Attorney General agreeing to those details.
Hazel O’Leary, President of Fisk, said, “We are, obviously, very pleased that this case was resolved in a manner that will ensure the future financial security of Fisk with most of the funds being used to strengthen Fisk’s endowment. We are also gratified to have Crystal Bridges as our partner in the ownership and care of the Collection. Crystal Bridges is rapidly becoming one of the finest art museums in the country, if not the world. Our sharing arrangement broadens the access to the collection.” More detail about the use of the funds received by Fisk is set out below.
President O’Leary added, “‘Fisk Forever!’ has been the popular rallying cry of Fisk for decades. Today it has become a reality. Fisk will remain as Nashville’s oldest university, which has and will continue to provide a nationally recognized educational experience for its students and also to make an important contribution to Nashville’s culture and history. The Stieglitz Collection is not lost to Nashville, but is saved to be exhibited here for two of every four years. Fisk will, probably for the first time, have the financial ability and professional expertise available at Crystal Bridges to do everything necessary and appropriate to care for and exhibit the Collection.”
Victor Simmons, Director and Curator of the Fisk University Galleries, said, “Alfred Stieglitz spent much of his life advocating and supporting American art, including the support of American artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, John Marin and Charles Demuth, among many others. I can think of no better place for the art to be exhibited, while away from Fisk, than in a museum of such quality and as dedicated to American Art as is Crystal Bridges.”
Other details agreed upon include placing the title to the Collection in a limited liability company, one-half owned by Fisk and one-half by Crystal Bridges. Oversight and management of the Collection will be the responsibility of a five-person committee, whose members will include the Curator of Crystal Bridges and the Director and Curator of the Fisk Galleries. The remaining three members will be persons approved by both Crystal Bridges and Fisk who will be a conservator versed in diverse media, a noted scholar on American Modernism, and a person with significant experience in the art museum industry.
Fisk and Crystal Bridges will share the cost of insuring and maintaining the Collection in accordance with best art museum industry practices.
Any future agreement to transfer all or any part of the Collection must be approved by the Davidson County Chancery Court.
President O’Leary also announced the following summary of how the $30 million proceeds will be utilized:
1. Strengthen our Endowment
Permanent restricted endowment $15,227,558
Temporarily restricted for operating needs 2,271,106
Initiatives of the next President of Fisk 5,000,000
Total endowed $22,498,664
2. Settle local bank obligations $1,605,921
3. Direct and indirect costs of 7 years of
litigation (including accounts payable) $5,895,415
For additional information contact Melissa McNabb at 615.329.8555.
About Fisk University
Founded in 1866, Fisk University is Nashville’s first institution of higher education and it currently ranks in the top 10% of all liberal arts institutions in the nation according to Washington Monthly. Fisk is the highest ranked of the six Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) listed in Forbes magazine’s 2012 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” and has been ranked in The Princeton Review’s “Best 373 Colleges” publication for twenty consecutive years. U.S. News and World Report ranks Fisk #144 in the elite Tier One group of 246 liberal arts institutions selected for the distinction among the 1,400 colleges and universities in the nation and Fisk is one of only three HBCUs ranked in Tier One. Fisk has earned three R & D 100 Awards for work in the creation of radiation detectors developed in collaboration with several national laboratories and corporations. No other HBCU has earned a R & D 100 Award. According to the National Science Foundation, Fisk produces more African-Americans who go on to earn doctoral degrees in the natural sciences than any school in the nation. For more information on Fisk University, please visit www.fisk.edu.