Real estate developer and southern art collector Roger Ogden, whose personal collection helped build the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, would like to end the museum's relationship with the University of New Orleans Foundation. Back in December, Ogden filed a lawsuit against UNO, seeking to retain ownership of the artwork he loaned to the foundation.
As UNO's state funding has dwindled over the years, so has the foundation's support of the Ogden:
UNO paid $641,000 to support the Ogden in fiscal year 2009. By the 2015 fiscal year, that funding was reduced to $246,000, mostly for property insurance and utilities. The university used to pay for museum salaries, but that funding was dramatically cut back and finally ended in 2015.
UNO hasn't exactly come through on its contractual obligations, the lawsuit says. UNO promised to build an arts and education complex on Lee Circle more than a decade ago, and that never materialized. Also, the foundation's Patrick F. Taylor Library next to the museum and the adjoining Clementine Hunter Education Wing was scheduled to be renovated and open to the public by Jan. 1, 2006, and that never happened, either.
The lawsuit says the two are seeking an "amicable separation between the two institutions"—like a conscious uncoupling. But could to entities really remain friends after this?