The fallout continues to develop in the ongoing bankruptcy case regarding St. Gregory's University.

The fallout continues to develop in the ongoing bankruptcy case regarding St. Gregory's University.

When the learning institution closed the campus down in December, hundreds were directly affected — and not just students and teachers. Many other entities including businesses, donors and neighbors are now left fielding the fallout.

Perhaps one of the most closely-tied entities to the university is the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, situated on the very campus that is being prepped for auction.

Though, financially, the museum stands on its own feet, it cannot easily side-step some complications arising due to those ties, and the proximity of its location.

One of the university's buildings — the Sarkeys Performing Arts Center — is housed on the west end of the same structure as the museum.

The theater is part of the university campus, yet the museum is not — leaving a potentially complicated situation for two entities trying to share the space.

“We don't know what will happen to the theater,” MGMoA Director and Curator Dane Pollei said. “We were able to use it for Arts Trek in April. At this point, all we can do is hope we end up with good neighbors.”

Pollei said he does not believe the museum would ever have to relocate, though he remains hopeful for more space at some point.

“We do hope to have a larger facility some day in order to better accommodate the 18,000 PreK-12th grade students we deal with every year, as well as our growing collection,” he said.

A more pressing issue at present, however, is the halt of a particular revenue stream to the museum as a result of the St. Gregory's bankruptcy.

“In the past, the museum received funding from mineral rights,” Pollei said. “These were a gift to the university in 1997.”

A condition of the gift, he said, required 30 percent of the income go to the museum.

“In the past, we had asked SGU to turn the ownership of this 30 percent over to the museum, but they refused to do so,” he said.

The bankruptcy trustee could have done this, Pollei said, but instead has seized all the mineral rights and they will be sold at auction.

After consulting with two attorneys, Pollei said the MGMoA board decided the best recourse was to join the litigation as an unsecured creditor for an amount to be determined when the mineral rights are sold.

The museum is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation able to stand on its own feet.

“We have been carefully and professionally managed over the years by staff and our board of trustees,” Pollei said. “We do have other sources of income, including a small endowment that is professionally managed by the Trust Company of Oklahoma and the Communities Foundation of Oklahoma.”

Loss of the mineral rights income will not cause the museum to close, he said, but it may mean that it will have to be smaller.

At that, Pollei expressed his discontent that the museum could potentially be forced to put the brakes on the momentum it has achieved.

“I can tell you that personally I am sad, angry and frustrated every day,” he said. “Yet, here we are.”

Scaling back would mean a complete shift in direction for the growing repository for antiquities.

“We have made significant progress the past few years,” Pollei said. “We have gone from serving 3,400 students per year to over 18,000 last year.”

The museum has added more than 400 works of art to its permanent collection, he added.

“We have partnered with education and health care organizations in order to better serve our community,” he said. “We attract schools from more than three hours away.”

Pollei said MGMoA is one of only two institutions in the country that provides training to educators, artists and health care workers in the use of Visual Thinking Strategies.

“Our Curator of Education Donna Merkt was one of the first people in the world to achieve certification in Visual Thinking Strategies,” he said. “This is a new level and the highest level offered by the national organization.”

MGMoA is building a museum not for today, but for all time, he said.

Watch for updates.