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Phila. School District Won’t Sell Off Art Collection To Fund Operations

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(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

(File photo by Mike DeNardo)

Mike DeNardo Mike DeNardo
Mike DeNardo, a veteran of KYW Newsradio for more than 25 years,...
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By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia School District has decided not to raise money by selling a collection of art that’s been in storage for a decade.

The artworks, taken from schools including Wilson Middle School, include paintings by noted artist Henry Ossawa Tanner.  The 60 pieces have been in storage since 2004, and early estimates said they could fetch $35 million.

But the district says curators now put their value under $1 million.

The School Reform Commission yesterday voted down a plan to sell the items.

“I think at one time people thought this was like a huge golden goose egg,” says commissioner Joe Dworetzky.  “And it clearly isn’t.”

Fellow commissioner Feather Houstoun voted against the sale, wanting proceeds to go to district art programs rathern than into the general fund.

Dworetzky said school administrators should come up with a plan to return the art to schools.

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