JERSEY CITY – City Councilman and mayoral hopeful Steven Fulop announced that he will next week formally propose the creation of an ad-hoc committee that will be charged with doing an inventory of artworks in the collection of the Jersey City Museum collection.
The museum closed its doors in December and since then its future – and its collection – have been in limbo.
Earlier this year United Way of Hudson County expressed an interest in purchasing the museum’s building. Had that deal gone through, the museum was expected to lease back a portion of the space for exhibits and administrative offices. That deal, however, fell through last month and the building is now in jeopardy for foreclosure.
In an effort to protect the museum’s inventory, much of which is owned by the city, Fulop is now calling for a committee to begin the process of cataloging artworks and other artifacts. The ad-hoc committee would include appointees made by the City Council and would be led by the Jersey City Department of Cultural Affairs, in conjunction with the museum’s former director.
“History has shown that during times of transition in museums is when artwork and valuables are most at risk of potential damage or theft. By appointing a group of experts from the Jersey City area to facilitate an inventory process, we can ensure that no individual has too much access to the collection without the necessary checks and balances,” Fulop said in a released statement.
His proposal, he added, has received the support of some local arts leaders.
“There is more to this process than just making a list of artworks,” said Irene Bongraber, the founder of the Distillery Gallery in the Jersey City Heights neighborhood. “There are standards and protocols that must be followed in order to make sure that the collection is properly identified and protected during this uncertain period. Jersey City has an extensive professional arts community whose help and expertise should be enlisted in order to protect these cultural assets.”
The committee will have till the end of the summer to complete the inventory and present the information to the Office of the City Clerk and city’s corporation counsel.