Many of you are excited about the IMA Museum’s permanent building opening this month, but the true history of IMA keeps getting swept under the rug.
The Island Museum of Art was founded in 2005 by Kay Kammerzell and Arnie Klaus—a husband and wife team who also started the Sculpture Park in 2001. When the museum opened at 270 Spring Street, another museum group began under Andrea Simmons called VAM (Visual Arts Museum).
In 2008, the two museum groups were joined under then-IMA President Nina Pellar Le Baron, who approached VAM president Pam Nichols to join into one group. Pam thought that the two groups could never unite, as the “Elephant in the Room” was that we sold art. In fact, we did not sell art directly, but allowed buyers to contact the artists. In return, we asked for a small donation to the museum.
Now that the new IMA is going to sell art, like a gallery, things have come full circle. So after the two museum groups agreed to merge under the name IMA, things were quickly taken over by the VAM board. They split off the Sculpture Park from the museum and refused to acknowledge the founding people that actually “started” IMA.
I wish the board the best of luck in their new building, but only hope that they can acknowledge the “True History of their Founders“ on their website and in future press releases. Andrea Simmons did not start IMA, and it is flatly erroneous to continue to insist she did.
“In a time of universal deceit—telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell
Here is to Kay and Arnie for laying the foundation stone for the IMA museum. May all their efforts be acknowledged in the future.
They come visit the island from Hawaii, and it would be nice to see their efforts recognized in a plaque in the new museum.
Here’s to a Happy New Year with the resolution to get the history straight.
Nina Le Baron/San Juan Island