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Miami Art Museum Name Change Sparks Controversy

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(Source: Herzog & de Meuron)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Construction on the new Miami Art Museum is well underway, but a controversy over the name has led to a resignation of a former president of the museum from the board of trustees.

Miami developer Jorge Perez pledged to donate $35 million in cash and art to the art museum which will now bear his name. The donation will be used to help build the new museum, set to open in Bayfront Park in 2013.

The Miami Art Museum will be called the Jorge M. Perez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County, in gratitude for the donation, which will be spread over 10 years time and will include the donation of art from Perez’s extensive collection of Latin-American art.

The donation brings to $167 million the money raised for the museum’s new building, which also includes $100 million in county bond funds.

“The name of the museum was never for sale,” said Mary Frank. “The name of the building was for sale.”

Frank paid for a full page ad in the Miami Herald this week that said thanks to a $35 million donation, the Miami Art Museum will now be called the Jorge M. Perez Art Museum of Miami-Dade County.

“Art museums do not sell their names after the fact,” Frank said.

In 2004, Miami residents voted to spend $100 million on the new building, and the city donated the land. But Frank wants those same residents to make their voices known and speak up against the name-change.

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion,” said Ricky Arriola, who is on the MAM Board of Trustees. “But think it’s great for Miami. It’s certainly great for the museum. And I think it’s a great thing for Jorge to be in the position to be able to make this kind of gift.”

The American Association of Museums told CBS4 Friday that they can’t find a single example of this ever happening other than on a university’s campus.

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