I was a trustee of the Laguna Art Museum from 1986 until my resignation in 1991. During my tenure, I served on several committees, including the search committee that hired Charles Desmarais (as director), and the executive committee, in charge of the museum’s development program.
I was the primary person responsible for raising approximately $165,000 for the most attended, most financially successful and most nationally traveled exhibit in the museum’s history, “California Light,” curated by Dr. Patricia Trenton, with a catalogue co-authored with Dr. William H. Gerdts.
The exhibit and its funding were already in place when Mr. Desmarais was hired. In addition, as Mr. Desmarais was aware from his interviews with the board, the museum had a long history of interest in supporting exhibits of early California works of art. Nevertheless, my resignation came as a direct result of Mr. Desmarais’ persistent negativism directed toward the museum’s focus on California Impressionism and the exhibit “California Light.”
However, I have continued to financially support the museum because I firmly believe that the single most important aspect of a museum is the institution itself. Sometimes it is easy to forget that while directors and trustees change, the institution remains.
I strongly feel that the current board of trustees represents an exceptional level of excellence and deserves the community’s whole-hearted and continued support.
ROBERT D. EHRLICHLaguna Beach