Foundation, Scouts work on art deal

Staff report


Foundation Medici’s effort to obtain and display a collection of 66 Norman Rockwell paintings at the Trumbull Branch of the Butler Institute of American Art has received a boost.

If the foundation and the Boy Scouts of America reach a deal, an unnamed person will donate $1 million to help fund the project, said John Anderson, president of the foundation.

The unnamed donor is from the region. “He was moved to make the offer by the turmoil this year after the Butler reversed its commitment [to take possession of and display the paintings],” said Anderson. “His identity will become known if and when the collection is secured.”

The Butler Institute of American Art had entered a preliminary agreement with BSA to accept the collection, but later put it on hold.

The Butler board feared it would be responsible for the cost of returning the collection, valued at more than $100 million, if the BSA sells it. The Scouting organization is possibly facing bankruptcy in the wake of a child sex-abuse scandal.

The 66 paintings were created by the late Rockwell as illustrations for Boy Scout publications.

Anderson said details are being worked out with BSA on an agreement. “They are approaching this with a considerable amount of urgency, which is fine with us,” said Anderson. “Ultimately, it comes down to resolving matters that will lead to an agreement that Foundation Medici can enter and honor.”

Last week, the foundation, which owns the Trumbull Branch building on East Market Street, announced it is invoking the six-month notice of termination clause in its lease and operating agreement with the Butler.

If the foundation does agree to terms with BSA to accept and display the paintings, it plans to build an addition to its building to add gallery and classroom space.