Thumbs Down to Gov. Bill Clements and to Oak Cliff State Rep. Chris Semos for railroading through the state Legislature a completely unplanned proposal for a state museum in Austin. The bill will cost taxpayers $1 million a year. Clements liked Virginia’s state museum, with its fine collection of Impressionist paintings. Why not get one for the Texas Sesquicentennial in 1986? With Semos’ help, the governor lobbied effectively, forcing the University of Texas to shelve a badly needed museum already designed by internationally known architect Cesar Pelli. The governor and the Legislature failed to consult any of the state’s museum directors, art patrons or university officials. If the plan goes through, many million more dollars will be needed to build the museum, probably to the neglect of already-deserving and needy arts institutions. Texas is 50th among 50 states in its per-capita support of the arts. But a poorly planned museum boondoggle is not the way to improve that statistic.


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