Raise the Titanic

Article excerpt

Hoping to cash in on the notoriety of the Titanic, Southampton City Council is planning to sell works from its collection to raise money for a new 15m [pounds sterling] Sea City Museum, which is to open in 2012 with a centenary exhibition about the Belfast-built ship which sailed once--and only once--from Southampton. The Council hopes that the art sale, which has been championed by the local paper, would initially raise 5m [pounds sterling] in order to match the amount that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has promised towards the new attraction, although a statement from the HLF points out the absurdity of the Conservative-run council's proposals: 'We would not normally expect the proceeds of the sale of heritage to be used to create partnership funding for a project.' The Council's art collection may seem a ripe target; only around 200 works from the 3,500-piece collection can be displayed at the City Art Gallery. However, as local Labour MP Alan Whitehead has pointed out, the works that are targeted for sale (because they would raise the most money) are not the less significant pieces in the storerooms, but the gems that are regularly on display. …