New school board policy may allow some valuable art to emerge from storage

Mike DeNardo
December 16, 2018 - 4:00 am
Philadelphia school maintenance workers are watching out for faulty equipment after a parent says his young son suffered an electrical burn at school.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The Philadelphia school board has adopted a new policy that would allow the district's art collection to come out of storage.

The district has 1,200 paintings and other works of art in storage -- much of it removed from schools including the Wilson Middle School 14 years ago.

Former Wilson principal Arlene Holtz remembers when the works of Henry Ossawa Tanner and Dox Thrash were taken from her building.

"The community mourned,” she said. “The staff mourned. I mourned."

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She commended the school board for adopting new rules governing the maintenance and preservation of the art, and allowing it to be loaned to museums and universities for display.

"We hope these works of art will serve as touchstones as students learn new ways of seeing the value of art appreciation and something about the lives of the artists," she said.

The district estimates the art is worth about $2 million, but Holtz believes its true value is for educational purposes.