Museum Overspent and Wants Taxpayers to Foot the Bill
San Francisco, CA – City College of San Francisco (CCSF) today filed a cross-complaint in San Francisco Superior Court disputing the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's (SFMOMA) allegations that CCSF is refusing to fulfill its contractual obligations related to its Loan and Partnership Agreement with the museum. The agreement established a process by which the College agreed to loan the Diego Rivera Pan America Unity Mural to SFMOMA for a limited period of time.
"The Diego Rivera Pan America Unity Mural is an important piece of public art and a symbol of our College's deep connection to San Francisco and the arts. We were thrilled to partner with the SFMOMA to share the mural with the world. Our partnership had an agreed upon multi-million dollar budget for them to take care of and return the mural we loaned,” said Board of Trustees President Alan Wong. “Now they haven't returned the mural by the agreed-upon deadline, exceeded the budget and want money meant for our school buildings to foot the bill. We are, therefore, deeply disappointed that we had no choice but to file a counter-claim in response to the museum's lawsuit against the College. We look forward to resolving this dispute and returning this national art treasure to its rightful home.”
Under the terms of the agreement, SFMOMA agreed to dedicate a total budget of $3.975 million dollars for the loan of the artwork, of which $1,000,000 was to be reserved for the de-installation and return of the mural to the College by September 1, 2023. The agreement further stipulates that if SFMOMA cannot return the artwork as agreed upon, it must amend the agreement in writing. The Cross-Complaint states that instead of following the protocols put in place to protect both parties, SFMOMA chose to pursue litigation. SFMOMA also suggested the College tap into its $181.3 million in San Francisco taxpayer bond funds, which can only be used for the construction of new educational facilities, to compensate for the world-renowned museum's financial mismanagement.
The mural currently remains in storage at the museum but is slated to be displayed in the new Performing Arts Pavilion, which is currently under construction at the College’s Main Campus on Frida Kahlo Way and is slated to open in the Fall of 2026.