The future of the Southwest Museum was left up in the air last month after the Autry National Center, which owns the Mount Washington landmark, said it was seeking a partner to “develop future programs” at the museum site. Today, Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents Mount Washington, said he’s been working to find a match and has approached Occidental College in Eagle Rock about their interest in running Los Angeles’ first museum.
“I’ve been talking to Oxy … about them taking over the site; opening up the museum,” Huizar said at a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum. “They have some other educational uses they would like for the site as well. So, we are working on seeing if that is possible.” Occidental College, however, is not quite ready to make a commitment just now.
Occidental spokesman Jim Tranquada said the discussions with Huizar’s office were part of “exploratory conversations” college officials have had about building closer relations and partnerships with several other area cultural and arts institutions. College president Jonathan Vietch, who arrived at Occidental College last year after working at the New School in New York, forged partnerships with several of that city’s cultural institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum. He wants to create similar partnerships for Occidental, Tranqueda said. “He’s exploring a lot of possibilities.”
Huizar conceded that the city now has very little leverage to force the Autry to reopen the Southwest as a full-fledged museum. Huizar and the coalition had blocked the Autry’s $175 million expansion of its Griffith Park museum until the Autry agreed to operate the Southwest Museum as an independent institution. The Autry, instead, purchased a building in Burbank and will undertake a more modest renovation of the existing Griffith Park facility.
“They were more interested in the [Southwest] artifacts,” Huizar said of Autry officials. ” They were not interested in recreating the [Southwest] museum itself.”
Friends of the Southwest Museum hold fundraiser tonight. ASNC Alert
Photo from Friends of the Southwest Museum