AMOA Update

Not too long after Daniel Stetson's departure as director, Sid Mallory, formerly of Longview, was hired as the museum's first Chief Executive Officer. The position was created as part of an unusual and innovative management strategy for AMOA. In most museums, directors oversee administrative and curatorial responsibilities (with the help of senior or assistant curators), report directly to the board, and assume a great deal of responsibility for raising money. Having a CEO at AMOA frees the director to function as a "curator with muscle," to create an aesthetic vision for the museum within the multicultural framework that the board has set for it. Just as importantly, it allows the museum to focus administrative and development responsibilities in its own position.

A successful development strategy is crucial to any museum's future plans. With its expansion into 823 Congress galleries, AMOA has more than doubled its annual budget, from $1.3 million to $2.01 million. Mallory, a former healthcare industry fundraiser, has secured the money to finish out the new space and seems optimistic about finding additional funds to keep the doors open and the programs ongoing during the five-year lease period. The Saturday night opening of 823 Congress ($100 per person -- tickets still available), an "Art Ball" at the Four Seasons Hotel on February 1, proceeds from the museum gift shop when it moves from its Sixth Street satellite location to 823 Congress, and other sources will help fill the gap.

Soon -- presumably within the next year -- Mallory will also begin raising endowment funds in anticipation of building the long-dreamt-of permanent downtown museum. But before Mallory can complete plans for establishing an endowment, the museum must finish a feasibility study that will project future operating costs for the new building. (At present, the study is 70% complete). Simultaneously, the city must finalize its contract with Robert Venturi, giving the architect the go-ahead to update the design and cost of the proposed museum. According to its agreement with the city, if the museum does not begin construction by the end of the year 2000, it will lose the opportunity to build on land that it previously donated to the city for that purpose. -- R.S.C.

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