Demise of Antioch College♦
Re “Present at the demise,” by Ralph Keyes—
I suspect that there is much of interest in the situation at Antioch College. For me personally, though, I find it difficult to ferret out the credibility in a lament about political correctness when the lamenter holds all the cards (i.e., he has been to Antioch, and I have not) and plays them so selectively.
I would love to see critiques that hit closer to home,
however. There are so many worthy subjects within ten miles of Broad Street.
I enjoy receiving the BSR in my mailboxes. Thanks, and keep up the good work!
V. F. Zialcita
August 22, 2007
Nice article. Different. Very well written. Not something that would be printed in the Antioch Review— or Penn’s Daily Pennsylvanian, for that matter.
August 26, 2007
Incredible story. It sounds like a treatment for a screenplay. The worse the college became, the more it attracted a certain type of student. I abhor clichés, but it sounds like inmates are running the asylum.
August 22, 2007
Editor’s comment: Past tense applies here. Were running.
For more responses to the Keyes article on Antioch College, click here.
Wicked and the rewards of patience
I agree with Steve Cohen’s review of Wicked ("Oz before Dorothy”). I thought it was the best production ever, especially in staging, as it’s quite a feat to offer this quality and quantity of mechanics at the Academy of Music.
What struck me may be typical of some odd friendships and may offer a lesson in patience. Through their trials and tribulations, Elphaba and Glinda found common ground in each other’s humanity, despite some annoying idiosyncrasies. Perhaps some of us should be more patient toward one another, as we may miss an opportunity to connect with someone who, to our delight, possesses some depth after all.
Rita Bratic Emlen
Ocean City, N.J.
August 22, 2007
The Barnes, yet again?
As Scott Jefferys points out in his excellent contribution to the Barnes debate, “How to keep the Barnes in Merion,” the alleged "done deal" to move the gallery collection to the Parkway is really a shell game. Going on three years after obtaining legal permission for the move, virtually nothing of substance has been accomplished toward it.
As Jefferys notes, there is no actual money for the move in hand— only pledges—and even these are far short of what a realistic estimate for a Parkway facility would entail. There is no permission to clear the site; no plan for a new building; and not even enough money on hand, apparently, to keep the fences around the Merion facility from rusting. The Barnes Foundation’s new board of directors has yet to be filled out or, as far as one can tell, to do actual work. The plan presented to the court in 2004 for a three-campus structure that would include development of the Ker-Feal estate was dead upon approval, since nothing has been heard about it since, and certainly nothing done.
The only concrete steps to ensure the financial health of the Barnes have been taken by those opposed to moving it. Montgomery County’s commissioners have offered it a $50 million bond package that would give it a real (not suppositional) endowment, and Lower Merion Township has approved zoning changes that would increase the attendance ceiling from 62,400 to more than 140,000. Needless to say, the Barnes board and its Pew masters have ignored these initiatives, preferring to sustain the deficit that is the only legal rationale for a move.
The real situation now is that the Barnes is stranded, with neither the resources to sustain itself in Merion nor the funds for a move to the Parkway. This renders it vulnerable to a hostile takeover by the Museum of Art-- in the view of many, including myself, the underlying scheme all along-- or even to dismantlement. Yet the initiatives presented by Montgomery County and Lower Merion Township would, with minimally sound management, both eliminate the Barnes’s current deficit and provide it with long-term financial stability.
It is obvious that any responsible and independent board would jump at them. The Barnes board, alas, is neither, but its betrayal of fiduciary responsibility does not bind the court that has ultimate control of the trust.
It is time for Judge Stanley R. Ott to vacate his former judgment and put the Barnes under court control. He will shortly be asked to do so. The Barnes saga is no "done deal." It is a rescue in progress.
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.
August 8, 2007
It seems as if the upper-middle-class residents of Lower Merion can’t understand why Judge Ott, the government and probably the majority of the people of Philadelphia would want free, unfettered access to this precious collection of art in a location on the Parkway served by several bus routes and accessible to many on foot. Even a proposed shuttle bus to Merion Station wouldn’t serve well, as it would be too long a ride for some people.
No, it is for the greater good to have the Barnes collection on the Parkway, to enhance the museums already there and help the city to become a true destination. We need it more than Lower Merion does, plain and simple.
Whether it is hung according to the original plan or not is not of issue to me. I want to see the art, study it for as long as I want, for a nominal admission charge. And how about this: Like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, let’s have it be admission by donation only.
Lower Merion residents should take all the money they’re willing to spend fighting this done deal and the money they are willing to put up as endowment, and donate it so it will do some actual good, and purge themselves.
On another parallel note, the Free Library addition shouldn’t be built as designed. The Library should annex the court building across the street and connect them with a skyway designed to match both exteriors. It will save two handsome buildings and create a single handsome structure with more space.
August 15, 2007
Editor’s note: To read a reply by Scott jefferys, click here.
I truly believe that the Barnes should stay where it is. It is certainly accessible to all through public transportation. We have enough museums in the city.
August 28, 2007
Regardless of my opinions about this issue, museums have always had a tendency towards unscrupulousness, ever since their inception.
P. Timothy Gierschick II
August 15, 2007
Editor’s note: For a follow-up by Scott Jefferys, click here.
Re “What the Barnes must do next,” by Gresham Riley—
It doesn’t matter how eloquently or how often you repeat your claim to know Dr. Barnes’s plan for his foundation. It has no basis to be taken seriously unless, you are meeting in the afterlife and he has changed his mind.,
What then is it that you don’t get?
Dr. Barnes was clever enough to have amassed a collection of art that is being clamored after like dogs to a bone; so, if he wanted it in the city of brotherly love, he would have put it there. N’est-ce pas?
Gresham Riley alluded to the Philadelphia Museum of Art director and her possible implication regarding the move to the Parkway. Given her job and supposed sensitivity to art, one would expect her to be a leader in protecting this enormous and incomparable treasure as it is, where it is, instead of condoning its’ possible desecration.
Her silence speaks volumes.
August 8, 2007
Editor’s comment: What Albert Barnes wanted is interesting and perhaps valuable to know, but it isn’t decisive. Once Dr. Barnes donated his collection to a tax-exempt foundation, the collection ceased to be his property and became the foundation’s, not to mention the public’s.
Editor’s note: For a reply to this comment, see Daniel Larkin’s letter in September letters.
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