Curator's Circle was created in 2004 to provide support for exhibitions and other activities of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum. We are proud of our contributions, both monetary and in service, which we provided for various exhibitions presented by the museum.

Since September 2005 much of our time has been spent trying to persuade the UL administration to conduct a search for a highly qualified director who will have authority to direct museum activities in accordance with American Association of Museums accreditation guidelines. The Independent Weekly brings out our basic disagreement with Dr. Authement's plan to appoint Mark Tullos as director and to search for a curator, who in effect, becomes deputy director ("Artistic Differences," Dec. 27).

Before anyone is appointed director, it seems reasonable to conduct a search for the best qualified person. We maintain that Tullos (who does not have a master's degree) should submit his application to the search committee.

We see the museum poised at a critical crossroads. Our world-class facility received the highest awards for design from the American Institute of Architects. We have a vibrant culture and many public-spirited and open-minded citizens who would support the activities of a first-rate museum, one that provides the community with a dynamic, creative environment and innovative programs. Conversely, we in Louisiana are known for our cultural resources, but also for taking them for granted. Are we going to continue in some self-defeating political struggle over the future of the museum?

Curator's Circle realizes it is a private citizen's group with no authority over how the museum is managed, and we respect Authement's responsibilities as president of the university. Furthermore, we remain committed to supporting the museum. However, we are perplexed by actions such as Tullos's refusal to accept our check to purchase 50 paid-in-full family memberships for the members of Curator's Circle. Considering, as The Independent states, that only $78,000 was pledged to the museum in 2006 ' only a small percentage of the annual amount needed to service the debt on the building ' one would think any purchase of memberships would be welcome.

When will the university wake up? Our prized jewel of a museum isn't being handled like the gem that it is. There is good reason why, for the past 18 months, Paul Hilliard hasn't stepped inside the museum that he and his late wife made possible for Louisiana. Certainly, it is a subject for the UL Foundation Board and Board of Regents to discuss.

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