San Francisco Artwork Institute to Merge With College of San Francisco


Leaders of the financially troubled San Francisco Artwork Institute say they’ve formalized plans to combine operations and educational packages with the College of San Francisco, a non-public Jesuit college, in a course of they are saying will ultimately result in the college buying the 150-year-old artwork faculty.

In a information launch, the artwork faculty mentioned Wednesday that the heads of the 2 establishments have signed a proper letter of intent to start the method of exploring precisely how you can merge their undergraduate and graduate arts packages. The settlement has been authorized by the trustees of every establishment, the assertion mentioned, and requires a interval of due diligence earlier than the acquisition takes place.

The ensuing program shall be often called the San Francisco Artwork Institute on the College of San Francisco, the assertion mentioned. Beneath the settlement, the College of San Francisco will take over the artwork faculty’s historic buildings, artwork and movie collections, and property. These property embrace all the things on the artwork faculty’s Chestnut Road campus, which homes a Diego Rivera Gallery that holds a invaluable mural.

Officers mentioned they anticipate their assessment to be accomplished in time for built-in operations to start this fall.

“After months of confrontation, negotiation, triumph, technique, gratitude, hope and elation we discover ourselves becoming a member of with one other group that realizes the depth of our contribution and the confluence of our beliefs,” Lonnie Graham, the San Francisco Artwork Institute’s board chairman, mentioned in a letter posted on the college’s web site. “This merger will assist to make sure the continuation of our college and the contribution of our college students.”

Information of the pending acquisition brings a possible decision to what has been years of economic tumult for the Artwork Institute, which manufacturers itself as among the many nation’s oldest and most prestigious colleges of up to date superb artwork.

Going through a mountain of debt after pricey expansions, declining enrollment and the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the college — which has seen the likes of Ansel Adams, Kathryn Bigelow, Annie Leibovitz and Mark Rothko educate and research inside its partitions — suspended lessons, stopped accepting college students and confronted the prospect of shuttering in 2020.

The College of California Board of Regents helped save the college when it stepped in to purchase its $19.7 million of debt from a non-public financial institution. However even with that assist, faculty officers got here beneath fireplace when some thought of promoting a beloved mural by Diego Rivera — mentioned to be value $50 million — to assist steadiness the finances.

Amid the turmoil, Pam Rorke Levy, then the chairwoman of the Artwork Institute, resigned in January 2021. Graham, a photographer, took over as chairman.

Within the faculty’s information launch concerning the coming merger, officers mentioned the San Francisco Artwork Institute and the College of San Francisco had had conversations about probably integrating their programming and operations “at numerous instances over the previous decade.”

The due diligence interval will embrace a assessment of funds, the bodily property on the artwork faculty’s Chestnut Road campus, and the logistics across the course of of educational accreditation, amongst different points. Officers mentioned that present San Francisco Artwork Institute college students who full their diploma packages on the College of San Francisco will obtain the identical educational providers, alternatives and assist that the College of San Francisco college students historically obtain.

In a letter to his campus neighborhood, Paul J. Fitzgerald, the president of the College of San Francisco, mentioned that combining the establishments’ efforts in the course of the interval of due diligence “offers us with larger capability to construct a unprecedented, transformative, social justice-oriented arts training inside our liberal arts and Jesuit custom that can profit the Bay Space, the nation and the world.”


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