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SOU art museum budget is safe

Is the Schneider Museum of Art at Southern Oregon University facing any budget cuts for next year? I know some of its staff are expecting to lose their jobs at the end of this school year. Is the museum in jeopardy?

— Elijah Grewe, Ashland

Because cuts are beginning to seem frequent at the university, we took this question seriously. And we are happy to report that the museum isn't facing any cuts. In fact, if anything, the budget could increase a little bit, depending on how many grants are landed, said Alissa Arp, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at SOU.

One member of the museum's staff, longtime Curator Stephen Frazier, is being replaced next year because his position is being expanded to include community outreach and education, said Arp, who oversees the museum's budget and operations.

"We're just going a different way with that staff person," she said.

The museum also will look for a new director next year, said Arp. That search has been on for over a year; the position is intermittently being filled by Art and Art History Associate Professor Erika Leppmann.

"The plan is to keep the art museum functioning better than it has in the past," Arp said.

She said she appreciated that someone from the community wrote in after hearing about the staffing changes at the museum.

"I am really grateful that the community cares so much about the Schneider that they are writing these letters," she said.

According to the museum's website, its permanent collection consists of art donated to the university during early stages of the museum's planning and construction.

"With the generous gifts from many collectors in the Rogue Valley," the website states, the collection has grown to more than 500 pieces of art.

It opened in 1986.

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