September 6, 2017

FSU, Danforth Art agree on $2.21M sale

Courtesy/Danforth Art
The Danforth Art Museum will become part of Framingham State University.

After nearly a year of negotiations, the Danforth Art Museum and Framingham State University have agreed to a merger that will see the museum and the Jonathan Maynard building become part of the university located across Route 9.

The agreement includes an initial financial commitment of $4.5 million from the university toward the integration. The museum, which also includes an art school, has struggled financially recently due to what Danforth calls a "near crippling spike" of more than $500,000 in operating costs this year.

On Sept. 1, Danforth Art submitted to the Town of Framingham paperwork related to the Massachusetts State College Building Authority's (MSCBA) purchase offer -- on behalf of Framingham State University -- for the Jonathan Maynard Building in the amount of $2.21 million.

Under the terms of the original mortgage when Danforth Art purchased the building from the town in 2013, the town has the right of first refusal for its sale, hence the required Oct. 17 Town Meeting approval.

After other losses and business interruptions this year, the merger will provide long term financial stability, the museum said in a press release Tuesday.

"As part of Framingham State University, the Danforth Art Center at Framingham State University has greater potential to serve its broad community as a university and public art museum and community art school," said Debra Petke, executive director of Danforth Art Museum\School, in a press release.

If approved at Town Meeting, the MSCBA will then oversee the immediate renovation of the building for shared use, which will reopen in 2019 as the Danforth Art Museum at Framingham State University and the Danforth Art School at Framingham University as part of the school's art department.

The museum and art school opened in the Jonathan Maynard Building in January after moving from the town-owned Danforth Building last year after the town ordered the building closed.

If approved, the town would receive $650,000 for the balance of Danforth Art's mortgage and $350,000 to close out remaining commitments for in-kind contributions owed to the town.

FSU President Javier Cevallos said in a statement that the two sides have worked over the past year to enhance the college's art program and to preserve a cultural institution in Framingham.

"We could not be more excited about this opportunity," he said.

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