The University of North Florida is in the process of acquiring the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, reports the Jacksonville Business Journal. On Thursday, UNF President John Delancey received a stamp of approval from the school’s board of governors to proceed in talks with MOCA regarding the museum’s acquisition by the school.
The first move was made by MOCA Director Deborah Broder, who, in light of her institution's financial troubles, approached UNF several months ago. MOCA’s collection is valued at $10 million and the museum has an endowment of about $600,000, but it has massive debts and has constantly struggled to attract visitors. MOCA approached the university after initial talks with Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, who passed on the offer.
At a UNF board meeting, members expressed concern about the finances of the deal, with Delancey bringing up the fact that small cultural organizations in mid-sized cities are typically unprofitable, according to the Journal. According to terms of the agreement, the university will have full ownership of MOCA and will try to maintain the museum’s nonprofit 501(c)3 status. UNF representation might be introduced to MOCA’s board, which will remain largely untouched otherwise, and the museum’s director will report to its own board as well as the university.
A major factor in going ahead with the acquisition, said Delancey, was that it would increase the school’s downtown presence as well as its chances of further partnerships with downtown organizations.