Survey of Arts Management

Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014

Competing views: Asheville Art Museum in trouble or on its way to better things?

I was browsing through a collection of arts news articles and thinking about organizational goals when I noticed two articles that both mentioned the Asheville Art Museum: “Is art museum headed for bankruptcy?” and “Tourism board backs Asheville Art Museum renovation.” 

The first article discusses how the former mayer and city manager Ken Michalove believes that the museum is headed for bankruptcy and disaster.  He claims that they have been less than upfront on their financial matters and have refused to answer a lot of questions about the lack of profits they claim and the number of guests who have purchased tickets and attended the museum.  Michalove appears to believe that the museum will have no other choice but to file bankruptcy because they cannot produce enough profit to keep them afloat; and they are $2 million short of the $17 million goal needed to fund a remodeling project slated to be complete by 2016.  

In contrast, the second article paints a very different light.  The writer calls Michalove a “persistent critic of the museum” and that despite his objections, the Buncombe County Tourism Development Authority, has voted unanimously to continue with its commitment of $1.5 million to help fund the renovation project.  A board member said the Asheville Art Museum’s fundraiser has shown positive results and construction should begin next year. 

The most interesting thing to me is seeing how this nonprofit company has some strong criticism being thrown at them, but they are surviving because a group of people came together to support (vocally and financially) the museum’s vision.  It really shows how important it is that a nonprofit connects with their community, whether by their programming, or by clearly defining their goals so people can rally behind them.

I also think some of the financial questions Michalove poses in the first article are really compelling.  It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this in the future. 


About Jenni

My name is Jenni. I am a writer, dreamer, and theatre enthusiast. I love life. I love to travel. I love to laugh. And I think life is beautiful. Follow my Twitter: @imRoseNCrantz

One comment on “Competing views: Asheville Art Museum in trouble or on its way to better things?

  1. benjamendouglas
    September 9, 2014

    Interesting, indeed! As the old adage goes, “time will tell.” Or – “the proof is in the pudding.” As Andrew said yesterday, there are unfortunately way too many cases of ED’s misleading boards about finances. Hopefully that isn’t the case here, and the museum will soar – despite the “hatas.”

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