Rose Art Museum Sit In, January 29, 2009, Image credit Bryce Peake
Looks like Brandeis University got a new PR team. Last week the University announced it would close the doors of the Rose Museum and sell the collection as a result of an economic crisis, and 14 days later the University has a new communications team on hand, and public message so muddy nobody knows what’s going on, (Greg Cook on their latest email). From the looks of things however, the only action the University’s changed is how it’s decisions are described to the press. Note this exchange between Reinharz and an unnamed student journalist at The Hoot:
Journalist: Did you say that you’re not closing the Rose?
Reinharz: I never said we were closing the Rose.
Journalist: But you also did not say that you’re not closing the Rose.
Reinharz: We’ve said the board has directed us to integrate the Rose more fully into the educational mission of the University.
Journalist: Do you currently plan on closing the museum?
Reinharz: The building? Never did.
Journalist: The museum. As in the Rose Art Museum
Reinharz: We have a faculty committee that is working right now in thinking about what and how the Rose should function on the campus. The Rose is an integral part of the University, just like the philosophy department, the biology department. There’s different functions. And we have to decide as a community…we can not escape the deficit. We can dream about it. We can hope…
Sounds like some crafty PR spin to me. Of course the building won’t be closed — it’s going to be a new education center — but the museum’s fate is now intentionally muddied. Notably, Reinharz inaccurately lauds the University’s transparency earlier on in the interview.
Meanwhile student and faculty protests mount. An installation by Steve Miller will debut this Tuesday at 6:00, before a Townhall meeting with the museum staff (including Michael Rush), students, and the department of Cultural Production, and will be streamed live. Additionally, after the jump is a PR statement for A Funeral for the Rose, a student lead intervention. These are just of few of many student activities going on over the next few weeks.
A Funeral for the Rose:
A student-led intervention to save the Rose Art Museum
Thursday, February 5, 7-10pm
Begins at Rabb School for Continuing Studies, Brandeis University
Despite the supposed finality of the Board of Trustee's decision to both close the Rose Art Museum and sell its esteemed permanent collection, the students of Brandeis University will not be complacent in this process. The “funeral” procession will bring together undergraduate and graduate students; from across the arts and other disciplines, to raise visual awareness for the misguided decision and ultimately to keep the Rose open.
Departing the steps of the Rabb School for Continuing Studies on Brandeis' campus, the
candle-lit procession will make its way across heavily trafficked areas of campus, stopping for conversation and to pay tribute at erected memorial shrines before ending outside the Participants are encouraged to wear black, and come equipped with their thoughts and feelings about how the potential closing of the Rose will effect our whole community.
Come early: materials to make signs and posters will be on hand, and all students are encouraged to share their own art, performances, statements, and proposals.