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D. Mae Broad, Hawley, Minn., Published November 30 2013

Letter: Rourke legacy wasted with sale of gallery home

Raising money by selling the Rourke Gallery will do nothing to fix poor management and laziness. The problem will continue until there is nothing left of what James O’Rourke built over a lifetime. This community is being robbed, and the board of directors needs to change the director immediately.

James O’Rourke worked for 50-plus years building the legacy he left to this community in the Rourke Museum and the Rourke Gallery. He built it with love, dedication and mostly hard work. He personally answered the phone with enthusiasm. He swept the floors, washed windows, shoveled snow and did whatever needed to be done without wasting money hiring a cleaning service because he knew there was no money for that or other services.

It appears that all of his work has been undone in a short span of several years by people who are too busy finding ways to spend money instead of even answering the phone personally.

The spirit of the Rourke Gallery was lost as soon as the new director took over. Some continuity of high standards and frugality could have been maintained by hiring someone who had worked closely with Jim through the years, had a love for the museum and for the artists, thorough knowledge of all areas of art and a strong work ethic. There is such a young man in town.

I thought that no day could be more sad than the day of Jim’s funeral, but now everything that he stood for and worked a lifetime to build is being stolen from us, and I am sad beyond words.

Shame on the leadership that brings us to this sad crisis. Shame on you. I expect this letter may be too blunt for some people, and to those I say, “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” How dare I speak the truth.

Broad lives in Hawley, Minn.