After over an hour of deliberations at their biweekly meeting, the Claremont City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to grant $18,879 to the Claremont Museum of Art to help the museum remain financially afloat for the remainder of the year.
The appropriation, which will come out of the city’s public art fund, is the third given to the struggling museum in the last three months, amounting to nearly $30,000.
In the next six weeks, the museum must come up with a plan to keep its doors open.“When there is a crisis, there is an opportunity,” said council member Sam Pedroza before the vote. “This is an opportunity to use public art funding in a purpose that could be meaningful.”The museum has been a cornerstone of the Packing House area of the village since it opened in April 2007.
Although it enjoyed financial success early on, the recent economic downturn left the museum in dire straits. After cutting back operating hours, closing the museum store and contracting staff to one full-time employee, the museum still could not raise the capital needed to continue operating.However, an influx of new potential investors and a strong membership base gives museum proponents hope.“I am confident that if we have time to get our plan in place, we will be successful,” museum board president Frank Chabre said.Although the council ultimately acknowledged the long-term value of having the museum in Claremont with its decision, council members repeatedly raised concerns about the museum’s ability to figure out a feasible funding model.
When asked what action the council would take should the museum remain insolvent come January, mayor
Linda Elderkin said, “We will evaluate that scenario in six weeks. We have to see what kind of progress has been made, what kind of plan is place.”