Archive for the ‘Lawrence M. Small’ Category
Today I received a letter from the Smithsonian Young Benefactors Society, of which I am a member, requesting that I donate a work of art for their 17th Annual Ball and Silent Auction held on September 15.
Firstly Sept. 15 is a bad date for anyone in the private sector in DC. It’s the beginning of the whole art market in DC marking the first evening of openings for the Fall 2007 program schedules at every gallery in the city.
Secondly, even as I contemplate whether “…as a Silent Auction donor, (I) will recieve visibility with thousands of young professionals through recognition…” some facts published this week (by Walter Robinson) resounded in my memory:
1. Lawrence M Small’s pay check increased in 7 years first by 40% over his predecessor, then to more than $535,000 and by the time he resigned this year, he was making $915,698.
2. Small’s pay increased while the amount of private donations to the Smithsonian decreased. Private donations hit an all time low in 2003 at $88 million, but finally rebounded to $132 million (which is still 10% lower than when Small began his career at the Smithsonian in early 1999).
3. He was able to conceal these facts by categorizing about $200,000 of that amount as a “housing allowance”.
4. He took “vacation” for 10 weeks a year, then another 3 weeks each year serving on “corporate boards”, which earned him an addition $5.7 million between 2000 and 2006.
5. Also during 2000-2006, his deputy, Sheila P. Burke, spent 400 business days, 1/4 of her work time away from the Smithsonian serving on “corporate boards” and pursued other endeavors, earning her $10 million in outside income.
Looks like the Young Benefactors Society needs to re-review their mailing list – they’re missing out big time…
Bad news. A recent external panel of museum directors has shown that the Smithsonian Institution‘s eight art museums are in trouble, financially, administratively and ideologically. The Art Newspaper reports that a three prong plan of action is required to remedy the abysmal situation:
1. the Smithsonian museums should be ‘truly excellent’ caliber
2. museums must cooperate to create institution wide programming to boost interest
3. Undersecretary for the Arts Ned Rifkin needs a bigger role in fundraising and collection management.
Such an announcement could not come at a worse time for the Smithsonian, as news broke of an internal audit showing Smithsonian Secretary Lawrence M. Small funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars into private trips and chandalier cleaning in his private home. Small has recently resigned, leaving a gap in Smithsonian leadership that only offsets the already disparaging news of the condition of some of America‘s finest collections.
The Castle, Smithsonian Institute