Operations Agreement Reached Between Milwaukee Art Museum and War Memorial

Posted on March 12th, 2013


MILWAUKEE (March 12, 2013) – At today’s Milwaukee County Parks Committee meeting, the Milwaukee Art Museum and Milwaukee County War Memorial, Inc. announced that they have reached a tentative agreement regarding the ongoing management of the buildings and grounds occupied by both organizations. Lead negotiators for both organizations finalized a term sheet last week.

The term sheet must still be ratified by the boards of each organization and a variety of legal documents finalized and approved by Milwaukee County.

“We’re very pleased to announce that through committed negotiations by both the War Memorial Corporation and the Milwaukee Art Museum, we have reached a fair and solid agreement regarding the ongoing management of the buildings and grounds occupied by both organizations,” said Dan Keegan, Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. “This agreement helps pave the way for the Art Museum’s planned $15 million investment and the County’s investment of $10 million.”

“This is a positive step forward for the War Memorial Corporation and we look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship with the Art Museum,” said American Legion state adjutant David Kurtz, on behalf of the War Memorial negotiations team. “The improvements planned through the support of the Art Museum and the County will ensure the War Memorial can continue its mission to honor the dead by serving the living.”

Both the Art Museum and War Memorial expressed their appreciation to Justice Janine Geske for her work in helping the parties reach agreement. They also thanked Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and County Executive Chris Abele for their involvement throughout the process and for appointing Justice Geske as a mediator.

Highlights of the agreement include:
• Both the Art Museum and War Memorial Center will operate as legally independent organizations with separate governance structures. They will collaborate on some matters involving programming and events for Veterans.
• The War Memorial Center will continue to manage, maintain and control spaces that it currently occupies, including the level one north entrance and third and fourth floors of the Saarinen Building and level two south entrance along with the Fitch Plaza/roof of the Kahler Building.
• The Art Museum will manage, maintain and control spaces it currently occupies in the 1957 Eero Saarinen–designed War Memorial and the 1972 Kahler building addition, along with the exterior of the lower portion of the Saarinen building and the entire exterior of the Kahler building.
• The Art Museum will move forward with plans for a $15 million renovation including gallery and building improvements.
• The North Tract – an area of land north of the War Memorial Center buildings including parking lots – will remain under lease to the War Memorial Center. Any future development proposed for the property by either the War Memorial Center or the Art Museum is subject to approval by the other party in addition to Milwaukee County.
• The War Memorial Center and the Art Museum will collaborate on a hybrid-engineering model supporting the separation of the campus mechanical systems.
• The War Memorial Center Art Museum will control revenue derived from their respective spaces / activities.

“We are excited to move forward with this agreement, which will help both organizations grow and provide world-class experiences for Milwaukee County Veterans, the Southeastern Wisconsin military community and the community at large,” said Kurtz.

The War Memorial Center was built in 1957 and grew out of a civic desire to create a fitting memorial to honor those who gave their lives in World War II. The War Memorial Center partners with a number of veteran organizations to provide a variety of community events and services. Additional information can be found at http://www.warmemorialcenter.org/

Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2013, the Milwaukee Art Museum collection houses over 30,000 works, with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum campus is located on the shores of Lake Michigan and spans three buildings, including the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion and the Eero Saarinen-designed Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. For more information, please visit www.mam.org.