Jersey City Museum Trustee: ‘The City Doesn’t Want to Give Us Any More Money’

For the first time in nearly half a year, the beleaguered Jersey City Museum last night hosted a number of artists, who were gathered there for an Artists’ Studio Tour mixer.

That simple fact, combined with the museum’s recent re-hiring of at least one staff member and this week’s announcement of a $77,211 state grant, seemed to point to a brighter future for the institution, which laid off its staff and closed its doors for most of the week this spring, as it continued to sink under the weight of its own debt.

But eulogistic remarks last night from museum trustee Ofelia Garcia indicate that the museum’s continued existence remains very uncertain.

“The city doesn’t want to give us any more money because they say no one cares,” she said. “We need you to tell them you care.” She appealed to those present to “make some noise” and let the city know what the museum means for the community.

The city, which is facing a fiscal crisis of its own, has slashed the yearly funding for the museum by 25 percent, to $500,000.

With the drop in city money coupled with fewer corporate donations over the past few years, trustees like Garcia are now thinking about more basic needs.

“Worst case scenario,” she said, “we will find a way to safely store the museum’s wonderful permanent collection.”

Irene Borngraeber contributed to this report

Jon Whiten

co-founded the Jersey City Independent. He is currently the Deputy Director of New Jersey Policy Perspective.