New York's National Academy Lists Buildings For Sale to Establish Endowment

  • The National Academy's buildings, on Fifth Avenue at 89th St., were valued at $107 million in 2012, according to the New York Times.

    The National Academy's buildings, on Fifth Avenue at 89th St., were valued at $107 million in 2012, according to the New York Times.

    National Academy Museum & School via Facebook

On Friday, the Board of Trustees and an Advisory Committee of National Academicians of the National Academy Museum and School (NA) jointly announced a unanimous initiative that paves the way for the historic arts organization’s planned future growth. As the first strategic component in this process, the Academy will capitalize on the institution’s current Fifth Avenue and East 89th Street addresses on New York’s Upper East Side, by offering these real estate assets for sale in order to establish a permanent, unrestricted endowment—the first in the organization’s 190-year history—as well as to generate revenue for a new facility to continue to protect the collection of 7,700 objects and continue the NA’s organizational mission.

Walter Chatham, NA, and Board Co-Chair comments on the decision: “After examining significantly increased operating costs of the NA over the past decade, the Board of Directors and a committee of National Academicians jointly recommend a fiscally responsible plan to sustain our venerated American institution for future generations. Based on analysis of our current financial responsibilities and ‘benchmarking’ the NA in comparison with similar arts institutions, we have come to the unanimous conclusion that bold steps are required in order to assure the sustainability and future growth of the organization. The sale of our buildings allows the National Academy to establish—for the first time in our history—an unrestricted endowment ensuring the perpetuity of the institution. We are confident that this endowment, together with finding a location more suitable to our mission, is in the best interest of the National Academicians and the general public. Importantly, too, the valuable permanent collection of 7,700 works that the National Academy Museum holds in its permanent collection as a public trust will remain vital core institutional assets, neither part of, nor impacted by, the sale.”

Maura Reilly, Director, National Academy, adds: “The Academy has occupied many homes across Manhattan since our founding in 1825 in service of our mission, while growing and protecting a significant collection of works by our historically important artist and architect members. This represents a hugely transformative moment in the history of the institution, as we build on the vision of the Academy founders, who saw the NA extending beyond that of a private institution to that of a vital and impactful arts organization. Our goals are not only to maintain and preserve, but ultimately to grow the Academy into a more vibrant and sustainable institution in every way.”

In preparation for these plans, the National Academy Museum will cease programming and close on June 1, 2016, remaining so until such time that the sale of property is fully ratified and realized, and a new home for the organization is determined. The NA School and administrative offices will continue to function normally on a day-to-day basis during this transition and for the foreseeable future.


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