“Milk Money” Art Collection on the Auction Block


Heritage Up for Auction

Cache Valley Utah perches in the far northern end of the Wasatch Mountains. It’s roots were and are fairly rural and Logan, the county seat and largest metropolis is the home to Utah State University, once Utah State Agricultural College (Go Aggies!).  Cache Valley was named for the fur stashes hidden there by many Rocky Mountain Fur Company trappers.

It’s still a relatively quiet and very picturesque valley with small towns scattered in the high mountain valleys.  If you take the exit east through Brigham City, through narrow canyons you’d love to visit the American West Heritage Center in Wellsville, or drop in to the Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum in Logan, or take a hike up to Naomi Peak. All things I’ve loved to do.

This quiet valley isn’t too quiet right now. In board meetings the Logan City School District has decided that it is in their financial interest to divest themselves of 11 of 42 paintings purchased by the children of Cache Valley for their education and edification, the proceeds to be used for “student travel”.  Many of these artists lived in or had roots in Cache Valley.

Alice Merrill Horne, was the Utah legislator who passed the 1899 “Art Bill” which created the Utah Art Institute and pushed for the “Milk Money for Art” program. Her idea was that, “as far as possible, children should be exposed to quality art without having to have rich parents”.

By James Harwood. One of the Cache Valley School District paintings up for auction.

Children all over Utah donated nickles and dimes (their milk money)  through the 1930’s to purchase fine art from local and regional artists. The art was displayed in public schools throughout Utah. I recall paintings in the hallways of my own elementary school in Utah County. Humm, I wonder if they’re still there?

Our history & heritage should not be for sale to the highest bidder. It disrespects the sacrifices made to procure these works of fine art by children and their families while in their poverty during the Great Depression.

Please sign this petition to stop the auction, which may allow local and state groups an opportunity to work to keep the collection together, protect and preserve it and keep it available to the public.   http://www.utahculturalalliance.org/lcsd-art-collection

Link to view Milk Money Paintings

For more complete information, both pro and con, please take some time to read these excellent articles.

Logan City School District’s Plan to Auction Paintings Meets with Concerns

Controversial Auction of Works from Logan City School District Collection

Logan School District Superintendent Commentary on School District Art Decision


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