Art Investment Collections: A New Model for Museum Finance?

Coslor, Erica
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RGK Center: Summer Fellowship Program

This article examines the conflicting views about whether to consider artwork as a financial asset and suggests a modified museum finance strategy that would not raise stakeholder concerns about selling art in the permanent collection. By encouraging museums to begin a separate investment collection, artworks may ethically be sold to generate operating or other expenses. This strategy brings up issues of governance, accountability, and conflicts of interest, but if done correctly, it could leverage the art market access of museums to create a hedge for other types of endowment assets, while still upholding museum association guidance that works in a museum’s permanent collection are never to be sold in order to fund operating expenses.