Letters to the Editor - March 1

March 01, 2011

Gallery leak does not relate to the NEA

To the editor:

I write to provide clarification concerning the Feb. 20 story on A1 of The Herald-Mail, "Public Funds for Arts not a pretty picture". During the course of my interview with The Herald Mail, I offered information about National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funding, including the fact that the NEA does not provide emergency funding, (though in 2008, funds were made available on an emergency basis to preserve jobs in the arts). There are other sources of emergency funding for the arts beyond the NEA. In fact, the art museum’s Mathias Fund was established for just this purpose, to provide earnings on an endowed fund to be used for the upkeep of the facility, including emergency situations. The museum is deeply grateful to the Mathias family for this very important gift.

The Washington County Museum of Fine Arts received funding through the Maryland State Arts Council in FY 2011 in the amount of $37,759. The art museum’s grant was omitted from the chart in Sunday’s article.

The Herald-Mail photographer noticed that the Singer Gallery was closed, and inquired. I explained briefly that the Singer Gallery roof had leaked after the recent 8-inch snow, ice and melt, and that appropriate actions are being taken to repair the roof and the Singer Gallery, and care for the art collections. I told the reporters that the museum will keep them informed as this situation is resolved and that the museum staff and board are working to get the Singer Gallery open again as soon as is possible.

The leak in the Singer Gallery does not relate to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) though it does relate to important issues having to do with support for the arts.
Rebecca Massie Lane
Director, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Hostility shown to Wis. teachers is disgusting

To the editor:

It is disgusting to see the hostility in Wisconsin to public school teachers, who have to invest a small fortunate to prepare for a poorly rewarded career.

The governor apparently has the mind-set of post-Civil War Virginians, who were forced under Reconstruction to establish a statewide school system in 1871. Well within the lifetime of my mother, Virginia teachers in some counties were paid $15 a month, having to furnish room and board for themselves.

Farm laborers were paid the same amount, plus a house and garden space.

I suspect that Maryland wasn’t much better.

Without their union, teachers in Wisconsin will, no doubt, be heading in the above direction, i.e., being paid less than laborers.

Harold C. Craig Jr.
Emmitsburg, Md.

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