The Marjorie Barrick Museum on the campus of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas has lost all if its state funding, and has only about enough to survive until fall 2012 unless it can come up with new sources of income, according to an article in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The museum’s annual allotment from the state had been $250,000; currently the institution has about $280,000 on hand. The Review-Journal report described the museum as “running on financial fumes.”
The Barrick houses one of the state’s largest collections of Native American art—including ceramics, textiles, and masks—much of it pre-Columbian. Brian Paco Alvarez, described by the Review-Journal as “local arts activist and historian,” said of the indigenous works, “That collection is amazing. … There is no institution anywhere in this community, with the exception of the state museum that has a few pieces, that is as extensive. I would have to go to New York or Los Angeles to see such a collection.”
Although the American Indian collection is undoubtedly a tentpole, the Barrick also hosts contemporary art and photography; recent exhibitions focused on Frida Kahlo and Ansel Adams.
Though the mood is clearly glum at the moment (“I can’t really put into words what the loss would be,” the museum’s program director told the Review-Journal), those who care about the Barrick are going to try to persist. The museum’s first adventure in fund-raising will be a silent auction with donated works. Those works will be on display from September 23 to November 9 (the date of the auction) in an exhibition titled “We Will Survive.”