Long Beach

The Long Beach Museum of Art Foundation has kicked off an intensive fund drive to raise $75,000 in private donations by June 30 in an effort to gain control of the art museum, which is now city-run.

Stephen Garrett, foundation executive director, said the group has already raised $225,000 from corporations and foundations. The goal of $300,000 was set by the City Council last July, when it entered into a contract with the museum foundation that will allow the foundation to take over management of the 30-year-old facility.

According to the contract, the foundation must raise $300,000 and submit a comprehensive five-year development plan by June 30. If the foundation is successful, the city will hand over control of the museum but will continue to fund the facility at the current level of $350,000 annually for the next five years, Garrett said.

"What we are doing is what the Los Angeles County Museum of Art did about 20 years ago and the San Diego Museum of Fine Arts also did," he said. "The museum associates in LACMA's case came forward and said, 'We can do a better job of running the museum,' so there is a pattern of an independent group taking over the management of a previously government-run organization."

Garrett said he is optimistic that the foundation's board of directors will raise the necessary money. If the group fails, the city will continue to run the Ocean Boulevard facility, which is best known for its exhibits of contemporary Southern California art and for its involvement in video production with contemporary artists.

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