Tyler Museum of Art’s board president this past week said the organization has hired an auditor, and an anonymous donor replaced the $44,500 in funding that the city of Tyler pulled in September because of questions about the organization’s financial transparency.
“We have no problem with the city and want to work with it, and we are proceeding with that in mind. We hope that it will restore the funding down the line,” Ms. Hall said referring to the city of Tyler’s withdrawal of financial support in September from the museum at the beginning of the budget year because of questions about the organization’s financial transparency. The museum received about $44,500 from the city in 2011.
“This is very nice to hear,” Assistant City Manager Susan Guthrie said Friday when told about the museum update.
City officials said in September that the museum funding would be restored if certain events would transpire. “I’d like to see a full independent audit of their financial records,” Councilman Martin Heines said. “And a full accounting of monies collected for the capital campaign.”
Heines said in September that the city could provide month-to-month support, in increments of $3,712.50, so long as the museum is open with its books, hires a capable director to replace Ms. Tomio and allows a city representative to serve on the board.
Mayor Barbara Bass said she wanted to add yet another condition: “They have an annual audit.”
“I think what they asked for is being done and a lot of what they want is being done,” Ms. Hall said. “My feeling is, ‘let’s work together if we can,’” she said.
She praised the board of directors and the museum staff, who are all “wearing many hats,” and said that the board is dedicated and cohesive.
The board is considering a location for a new smaller-scaled museum building, Ms. Hall said. The museum owns land off of Lazy Creek Drive near The University of Texas at Tyler. Talks between the museum and the city regarding a downtown location at the former site of the King Chevrolet dealership were abandoned after several campaign capital donors threatened to withdraw funding, Ms. Hall said.
“The donors wanted (the museum) to be built at the Lazy Creek location,” she said.
But the Tyler downtown area still might see an institution devoted to art, it was announced in December. City officials announced possible plans to collaborate on an Arts and Innovation Center with The University of Texas at Tyler. The Center, a separate entity from the museum, could possibly house museum and classroom space, along with some innovative education programs and arts-related retail space if the two entities can sign a memorandum of understanding.
The university has not yet signed the memorandum, City Manager Mark McDaniel said last week. Plans call for the center to be located in the city-owned Lindsey building, constructed in 1955 at the corner of Elm and Broadway. The building has been vacant since 1986.
Tentative plans call for the city to spend $2.5 million, in secured written pledges for required private capital funding, to renovate the first two floors of the eight-floor structure and bring the rest of the building up to current building codes. Renovation plans also include the exterior, elevator and mechanical systems, according to a draft copy of the memorandum dated May 15, 2012.