For Immediate Release
February 12, 2013–, On January 16, 2013 the College of Visual Arts in St. Paul Minnesota announced that it will close its doors forever on June 30, 2013. CVA Action quickly organized, gained nonprofit status, nominated a board, met with CVA Board of Trustees and is now in the process of creating a turnaround plan for the College of Visual Arts.
The announcement of the school’s closure came as a surprise not only to CVA students, staff, and faculty, but to the greater community as well. In response, many student, alumni and community groups formed immediately, as did CVA Action. Within days of the school’s announcement, a Facebook group called “Save CVA” accumulated nearly 1,400 members; this is but one example of the strong and immediate response to news of the school’s financial and operational challenges.
CVA Action is optimistic about CVA’s future even if the CVA Board of Trustees and administration may not have been able to see a different outcome for the college. On January 22, CVA hosted a meeting for its students that provided a whisper of hope delivered by Michael Knight of Alliance Consulting. During his address to the CVA student body he stated that the College of Visual Arts is a critical community resource and there is still “some life in it.” As Mr. Knight explained, “Sometimes you decide to close something even when there is some life in it because you can’t see a different outcome.”
As the College of Visual Arts Board of Trustees Chairman, James Rubenstein, stated during the above-referenced assembly, “If one or more angels…came along, we would certainly look at that…with enough money, a large endowment, there would be hope. We [on the Board of Trustees] would love that.”
CVA Action is dedicated to thoroughly explore turnaround options and solicit assistance and advice from local government representatives, business leaders, philanthropists, neighborhood groups, alumni and possible angels. CVA Action believes that the College of Visual Arts is a viable and culturally rich institution that should not be dissolved. CVA Action urges the community to visit www.cvaaction.org to learn more about their efforts, events and ideas.
Notable CVA Action developments:
- CVA Action filed as nonprofit organization on January 28, 2013
- Election of 8-member Board of Directors on January 29, 2013: Bios at http://cvaaction.org/who-we-are/
- CVA Action Board members met with the full time College of Visual Arts faculty and department chairs, as well as staff members on February 5, 2013. The visit resulted in the following letter of support from the CVA Faculty.
It is with great enthusiasm, and a good deal of relief that we, as the College of Visual Arts full time faculty and program coordinators, add our support and endorsement to the efforts and stated goals of CVA Action.
We look forward to productive coordination of activities, and transparent communication, with this organization and others focused on the best interests of the various CVA communities reacting to the closing of the college.
John DuFresne, Academic Dean, Professor and Chair, Graphic Design
Valerie Jenkins, Associate Professor and Chair, Fine Arts
Julie L’Enfant, Professor and Chair, Liberal Arts
Jessika Madison-Kennedy, Fashion Design Program Coordinator
Lynda Monick-Isenberg, Professor and Chair, Foundation Studies
James O’Brien, Assistant Professor and Chair, Illustration
Maria Santiago, Professor and Printmaking Coordinator
Ellen Skoro, Assistant Professor and Chair, Photography
Steve Stenzel, Assistant Professor, Photo & Foundation
- CVA Action board members met with the College of Visual Arts Board of Trustees members (Jim Rubenstein, Andrea Specht, Becky Richardson and Judith Beck) as well as Mike Knight of Alliance Management, and Sue Short (CVA’s Interim President) on February 7, 2013. On February 2, CVA Action formed a Finance Review committee to examine the College of Visual Arts’ finances as part of the effort to create a turnaround plan for the college. The CVA Board of Trustees has given permission for CVA Action to have that access. On February 9, 2013 CVA Action members unanimously approve the formation of the committee: CVA 2024 (as per the college’s forthcoming 100-year anniversary in 2024). This committee is charged with creating a turnaround plan and new business model for the College of Visual Arts. The CVA Board of Trustees stated that they hope CVA Action will succeed in its effort to save the college from closure.
- CVA Action acknowledges that students should proceed with transfer plans and meeting application deadlines in the immediate future while these turn-around efforts are underway.
Learn more about CVA Action:
Upcoming CVA Action Events:
- CVA Action public meeting Saturday,
February 23, 2013, Noon
- Save CVA Benefit Show
Friday, March 1, 2013, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
Amsterdam Bar & Hall
6 W 6th St St. Paul, MN
Featuring music by CVA Alumni: Roe Family Singers and The Tim Malloys $10.00 cover charge at the door. Proceeds go toward the effort to keep CVA open. http://cvaaction.org/category/events/
CVA Action Mission Statement:
CVA Action is a group of concerned alumni, students, faculty, and community members dedicated to searching out and presenting alternative solutions to the closing of the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, MN. CVA Action works to provide a bridge between community and institution: facilitating discussion, providing mediation, fundraising, and fostering healthy partnership between CVA and its community supporters. CVA Action believes that the College of Visual Arts is a viable and culturally rich institution that should not be dissolved
Ed Charbonneau, Vice President Communication, CVA Action Board of Directors firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-260-4784