CVA supporters urge board for a second chance

About one hundred students, faculty and alumni gathered on Summit Avenue in Saint Paul this evening to show support for a plan to keep the College of Visual Arts open.


Ben Levitz, an alum of CVA and president of CVA Action, speaks to supporters before meeting with the college board.

MPR Photo/Marianne Combs

In January the administration announced the art school will close its doors in June due to financial problems.

Since then, members of the group CVA Action have lobbied to save the school, and raised $70,000 for the effort.

College of Visual Arts alum Ben Levitz heads up the group CVA Action; tonight he’s presenting the details of a plan which he hopes could turn the college’s fate around.

“It’s leveraging the real estate, the multiple buildings that the school has and using those to fill our short term operational cash need” explains Levitz. “But then also surrounding that with a group of professional fundraisers that can really strengthen the other cash resources that the school needs.”


CVA Action supporters include current students and faculty

MPR Photo/Marianne Combs

The plan also includes broadening the board which currently has only six members. Senior Tara Shaffer says she hopes the current board will be open to giving the school a second chance:

“Why make sure it’s broken before you leave? Why do that? Why take something away from the world before you’re gone – you’re gone either way. Why not give us a chance? If we fail miserably they can laugh from their houses if they want – that would be fair. But why say no to a chance? I just don’t understand the point of that at all.”

Representatives of the College’s board were not immediately available for comment; CVA Action’s meeting with the board was not open to the public or the media.

Editor’s note: Look for more reporting on this story in the coming days…

  • Heather S. Olson

    Thank you for making time to cover this important community, arts, and business issue, Marianne Combs!

    As a recruiter of creative talent, I have found the graduates of the College of Visual Arts to offer some of the strongest design portfolios of any of the competing design programs in our region, and the alumni have proved their value by working for—or founding—numerous local and national creative agencies including Target, Fallon, Olson, Larsen, Sevnthsin, Studio on Fire, Big Table Studio, and many more.

    The design community wishes to see CVA survive!

  • Jess

    I went to CVA. It is an amazing school filled with amazing students and teachers. It is a challenging school but also very fun! I ended loosing the financial aid I needed to continue going to school their because I was still considered a dependent and my parents made too much money. If I had the finances I would re-attend CVA in a heart beat. Again, it was just an amazing school !!! I am extremely shocked and saddened that there is a chance it will be shut down!

  • Susan Eckwright (Palus)

    We learned from the 70’s…Please keep up the voice and tell the board… we need CVA, it’s

    our future!

  • A L

    Tomorrow is CVA’s final graduation. It will be a bittersweet moment – and the person who orchestrated CVA’s demise will not be there. Regardless of hers and the board’s rhetoric, those students who attended CVA know that ANN LEDY is the reason the college is closing. Her ostentatious spending, her want to create a 300-student college, are what has destroyed our fine school.

    It will be a bittersweet moment as some of us graduate, and others have to seek other places to complete their degrees.