(WMC-TV) - Memphis College of Art is looking to pay down some of its debt and has decided to sell more than 500 pieces from its art collection.
MCA officials say they are finally working with a balanced budget after deciding to lay off four employees last month and sell off its art collection.
"It was kind of one of those aha moments where we said here's an opportunity for us to do two things at one time," said Ron Jones, president of the Memphis College of Art.
What's on display in the school's main gallery now was generated by youngsters at art camp. MCA's collection is not visible.
"Since we're not a museum we're not about the past," Jones said. "We're about today and tomorrow."
Instead of being on display, the school's collection is in storage. Jones said the school doesn't have the room to display its 550 piece collection and work by its current students at the same time.
The collection is in storage.
The school received the art in various ways. Some of it was inherited, other pieces were given to the school and some of it was simply left behind by its creators.
Jones says much of the work has deteriorated over the years, but is still expected to generate some sorely needed revenue.
"Any money we get from it is obviously going to help us," he said.
The school is currently trying to pay down debts it owes after purchasing Midtown properties for student housing.
"We now can focus our attention on where Memphis College of Art is going, what's it doing, instead of worrying about where we're going to get the money to pay for our expenditures," Jones said.
A board member and museum curator will oversee the art sale.
MCA officials say the sales will be drawn out over 8 to 10 years so as not negatively affect the value by flooding the market.