The New York Times describes the imminent threat to the Ohr-O’keefe Museum in Biloxi, MS. The Frank Gehry-designed building houses a museum that just doesn’t generate the revenue to cover its costs:
After surviving Hurricane Katrina, the gulf oil spill and an economy that has battered the tourist trade, the museum is almost out of cash, hurt by fewer visitors than it had hoped for, higher operating costs than it expected and less city support than it had counted on.
“We’ll need some intervention within a matter of weeks or we will be totally out of funds,” said Larry Clark, president of the museum’s board.
Already, hours have been cut back. Insurance, which is exceptionally expensive for a building that houses irreplaceable art just yards from the Gulf of Mexico, has been negotiated down to its minimum.
Among the other tremendous expenses: Simply trying to keep the galleries below 30 percent humidity to protect art in a climate where the humidity can reach 90 percent costs thousands of dollars every month.
The O’Keefe Foundation, named after a local businessman, Jerry O’Keefe, the museum’s benefactor, has allowed an emergency infusion of $100,000. Several donors have also been tapped, Mr. Clark said. And a major fall fund-raiser sponsored by the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino is planned.
A Gamble on Art on the ‘Redneck Riviera’ May Not Be Paying Off (New York Times)