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James M. Kaplan, Fargo, Published December 11 2013

Letter: The Rourke situation has been badly botched

Although I am reluctant to expose myself to The Forum calling me “hyperventilated,” I want to comment on the controversy surrounding the closing of the Rourke Art Museum’s Gallery location.

The Rourke is a community organization with members who pay dues. The board, however, is a self-appointed, self-perpetuating group that is not elected by nor is accountable to the membership. Some might call it a clique. The meetings are not publicized and the minutes are not published.

When the decision was made to sell the gallery, the members were not informed in advance, nor were they consulted. Obviously for such an important decision a membership meeting should have been held. When people are informed, included and consulted they are invested in the decision and come to understand its necessity, however painful it might be.

That this matter has become so controversial that it has occasioned a lead editorial in The Forum, shows that, quite apart from the closing of the gallery, the museum’s leadership botched and mishandled the issue, leading to angry and disappointed members and negative publicity, which is bad for the Rourke.