Meyerhoffs' art lost to BaltimoreEvery Baltimorean...


June 01, 1996

Meyerhoffs' art lost to Baltimore

Every Baltimorean interested in the arts should visit the National Gallery of Art in Washington. On display is an impressive collection of modern art donated by Robert and Jane Meyerhoff.

The Meyerhoffs, of course, are a wealthy Baltimore family who have devoted a considerable part of their fortune to philanthropy. The Meyerhoff collection would go perfectly with the Baltimore Museum of Art's new wing devoted to modern art. Why isn't it there?

The answer is that several years ago, the director of the National Gallery of Art sniffed out the Meyerhoff collection, then devoted the immense resources at his disposal to wheedling the Meyerhoffs out of their treasury of art.

The Baltimore Museum of Art, which assumed that it would eventually benefit from the Meyerhoff collection, was blind-sided, not even being aware of the seduction of the Meyerhoffs.

The whole affair is an outrage. The snatching of the Meyerhoff collection represents a looting of Baltimore's cultural scene.

The loss to Baltimore is immense. A collection as comprehensive as this tends to generate an interest in the arts that might not exist otherwise. The Meyerhoff collection would draw new patrons to the BMA. Increased attendance at the museum would be beneficial to the entire surrounding neighborhood.

What is truly galling is that the National Gallery, as a national institution, is supported in part by the money of Baltimore taxpayers. Can't Baltimore's representatives in Congress raise a ruckus?

They could mention the magnitude of the loss to Baltimore due to this predatory federal institution, and explain to representatives from across the country that their municipality could be the next target.

If the National Gallery of Art was faced with the prospect of defunding, it might seek a compromise solution to the problem, much to Baltimore's benefit.

George Owens


Abell Foundation supports Shakespeare

In a recent letter to the editor, the Abell Foundation was criticized for failure to support the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival just began its third year on the city scene. It has accomplished much in its embryonic years, but like any other fledgling arts organization, fund-raising has been more difficult.

In the first two years, it performed summer programs and in the fall and spring conducted an outstanding outreach program in a number of public and private schools throughout the metropolitan region.

In January 1996, I was asked to chair the board and assist the organization in stabilizing its financial position.

Because of the high costs of the summer program, the board reluctantly canceled this summer's performances and decided to raise funds to build the outreach program for the fall of 1996. The board envisions performances to resume in the summer of 1997.

The Abell Foundation was most supportive in the first two years of the festival's existence and is considering another grant to assist in funding this year's outreach program.

To date, the Abell Foundation has been our greatest benefactor and should be recognized as such.

We trust that Baltimore will be able to support Shakespeare and follow the lead of the Abell Foundation in rendering financial assistance.

Julian L. Lapides


The writer is president of the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival.

Guilford residents like living in city

A recent article concerning Guilford (May 3, "Divided over Guilford's barricades") portrayed a neighborhood far different from the one I've experienced. Seven years ago, my family moved to Guilford and I was happy to find a diverse group of caring, open-minded neighbors.

The many people I've met lead interesting lives, take meticulous care of their properties and are involved in improving the well-being of the city as a whole. We interact frequently at planned neighborhood-wide activities, block get-togethers and chance encounters just walking around this pleasant area of town.

Guilford is terrific for many reasons, including its physical beauty, its accessibility to downtown Baltimore and its family atmosphere. Guilford's best asset, however, is its residents who fully engage themselves in the pleasures and challenges of urban life.

The people I know aren't seeking to isolate themselves. Completely to the contrary, as evidenced by the fact that with many other options open to them, they choose to live in the city.

Thomas P. McDonald


All school rules must be followed

The reinstatement of Chesapeake High junior Jodie Ulrich to school was a step backward for the public school system and the judicial system.

Initially I thought that she should not have been expelled from school, but the more I thought about it, the more I began to agree with the board's decision.

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