The San Francisco Art Institute has been facing financial difficulties made even worse by the pandemic, and is now planning to sell the Diego Rivera Mural. However, as word of the art institute’s plans to sell the 1931 artwork began to spread, the decision to do so has been receiving backlash from San Francisco’s public sector.
SFAI Officers Still Non-Committal Over Board’s Plans Of Selling the Mural
According to the VP and Dean of SFAI Academic Affairs Jennifer Rissler, a letter addressed to the faculty and staff sent last December 23 stated that all choices to save the institute from dying is being considered. The school board has decided through voting, to explore the option of selling the 1931 mural created by Diego Rivera, which is currently valued at $50 million.
Some of those who attended the meeting last month mentioned that among the prospective buyers who have made offers for the mural, is film director George Lucas, having an ongoing museum construction project of his own.
The institute’s president Pam Rorke Levy told ArtNews that they cannot share anymore information about the plan; except that there have been multiple talks of several institutions hoping to acquire the mural. On the other hand, a representative from the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art responded to ArtNews query, by saying that they cannot comment on speculations related to the sale of the SFAI mural.
Public Reacts Negatively to SFAI’s Plans
After hearing about the SFAI’s plans, several members of San Francisco’s public said they do not agree with the art institute’s decision to sell the art piece. According to Aaron Peskin, a local official, “selling the mural would be offensive to the city’s heritage and art.” He stated that educational institutions like the San Francisco Art Institute should educate people about art and not about selling art.
However, with the real estate prices hiking up in the Bay Area and the financial difficulties confronting educational institution, selling the art piece is one of few options left.