Butkovitz: Philly Schools Should Open Up Long-Hidden Works of Art

Art worth $4 million is kept away from the public in a storage facility.

City Controller Alan Butkovitz just issued a press release calling on the Philadelphia School District to stop bogarting all its great art.

He said more than 200 pieces of art, with a total value of $4 million, have been concealed in a storage facility for the last decade. The schools should partner with the city’s art institutions to display those works to the public, Butkovitz said.

The concealed historical collection has a replacement value of almost $4 million and contains pieces of art ranging in value from $100 to as high as $385,000. Some of the artists in the collection include Walter Elmer Schofield, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Antonio Martino and Laura Wheeler Waring.

“This collection contains paintings by Philadelphia artists who lived, studied or made a direct impression and provided inspiration to the art community in our City,” said Butkovitz.

“While there’s been an overall lack of accountability of the District’s artwork, it’s even more disheartening that many of these great pieces are hidden from the public, behind locked doors,” said Butkovitz.

Butkovitz — expected to run for mayor next year — has long been a critic of how the district tracks, controls, and stores its artwork.