PORTLAND, Maine — Four properties owned by the late pop artist Robert Indiana are now in possession of the foundation that intends to transform his Star of Hope island home into an art museum, the foundation’s chairman said Friday.
The Vinalhaven properties, assessed at $1.4 million, include Indiana’s Victorian house, along with a large building that could serve as a studio and artist residence, another building that could serve as gift shop and ticket venue, and a small home, Larry Sterrs said.
Indiana’s estate remains embroiled in a lawsuit by a company that held the copyright for his iconic “LOVE” series. The lawsuit was filed the day before Indiana’s death on May 19, 2018, at age 89 on Vinalhaven Island, 15 miles (25 kilometers) off Rockland, Maine.
With the property transfer last week, the foundation, which isn’t a party to the lawsuit, can continue its work to fulfill the vision laid out in Indiana’s will: turning his dilapidated home into a museum to display his artwork, along with art education and programming.
“I am extremely optimistic here,” Sterrs said. “I think that there’s a lane that we can operate in. The light is getting brighter around that.”
Work continues to get the buildings shored up before winter, and the goal is to have a plan in place for how to use them by early next year, he said.
At the same time, there will be comprehensive structural, architectural and environmental surveys to see what the buildings need for the long term. Indiana set aside $5 million for the foundation before, which will be used for the work, Sterrs said.
No programs are finalized, and Sterrs is still collecting feedback from the islanders, some of whom support the museum and others who object to the idea of more summer visitors. There have been two public meetings, and there will be two more.
The goal, he said, is come up with a plan hits the “sweet spot” by accomplishing Indiana’s wishes in a way that has the support of islanders.