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Committee Drafts Financial Plan to Save Art Museum : Programs: Cal State officials are optimistic that a combination of reduced university funds, private contributions and grants will sustain the galleries.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Officials at Cal State Long Beach say they are optimistic that the University Art Museum--targeted for elimination earlier this year along with the football program--can still be saved.

“I would hate to see a university like this without an art museum,” said Jerry E. Mandel, vice president of university relations and development and chairman of a committee set up to weigh the art museum’s future.

“It has national stature and is the only accredited art museum in the CSU system,” he said. “You can’t have an art program without a museum.”

The committee was formed last June after a campus task force recommended that the museum and football program be eliminated to help offset a $15-million reduction in the university’s $155-million budget. The budget reduction forced the university to lay off hundreds of faculty members, eliminate many classes and reduce enrollment by about 2,000 students.

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University officials announced Tuesday that the football program was being dropped, although a separate committee had endorsed a fund-raising plan by boosters to try to save the sport.

But Mandel said his committee will submit a financial plan that would sustain the museum with a combination of university funds, private contributions and grants.

The university would be asked to provide $200,000 a year--much less than it traditionally sets aside for the museum--and another $200,000 would be raised each year through contributions and grants, according to the plan. The museum, which occupies an entire floor of the university library and exhibits the work of students and professional artists, has received about $500,000 a year from the university in the past, but the allocation was reduced to about $300,000 this year.

“I think if we can get the basic support (from the university) we can raise the rest of the money in the community,” Mandel said.

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The eight-member committee, which includes representatives of the community and the university’s administration and faculty, should complete its report within a month, Mandel said. The committee has been meeting regularly since September, and has now heard all the testimony it plans to hear, he said.

The report will be presented to Provost Karl Anatol and, ultimately, to President Curtis L. McCray, who will make the final decision on the museum’s fate.

“I think our report will say that the art museum is important, that we need one, that we recognize our economic problem and that we can run at a reduced budget,” Mandel said. “I think we can make a good case.”

McCray declined to comment on the art museum’s future.

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