Fisk Tries To Raise Funds Through Painting Sale - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Fisk Tries To Raise Funds Through Painting Sale

Fisk University is a school deep in both tradition and debt. A dwindling endowment led administrators to search for a way out of a financial crisis.

Two Georgia O'Keeffe paintings donated to the school in the 40's have been on the market for some time to pay off accumulating debt. As of yet, the paintings have not sold.

In an interview in last year, Fisk University President Hazel O'Leary said she planned to bring the university out of its monetary rut with the sale of the two pieces of artwork that were donated to the school. The decision didn't come without problems.

"The university approached this issue with an abundance of caution," O'Leary said. "I had a clear understanding there might be an intervention and there surely was."

The Georia O'Keeffe Museum originally challenged the university's right to sale the donated artwork, but under a deal, the museum agreed to buy one O'Keeffe work for $7 million if no outside buyer is found.

The university has fielded offers for the pieces, but hasn't been able to sell them yet.

Administration maintained that if the pieces aren't sold, they will have to make other cutbacks to help their financial situation.

From 2000 to 2004, Fisk was forced to pull nearly eight million dollars from its endowments to pay for operational costs, leading to the university's financial problems.

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