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Big Moves: Amy Gutmann Offers Fine Arts Department as Sacrificial Lamb to Amazon


Photo by Stuart Watson / CC 4.0

Talk about a power move!

Cities all over America are vying for the opportunity to be chosen by Amazon as the location for their second headquarters, and Amy Gutmann is making sure Philadelphia is a key contender. Gutmann announced this past weekend that if Philadelphia is selected, she will allow for the sacrifice of the Fine Arts Department in the name of Amazon.

The countless other offers to Amazon may all have their own tactics, but none are quite like this one. “Who else is willing to provide the unique opportunity of sacrificing 2000+ Undergraduate students, 60+ faculty, all in the name of Amazon?” exclaimed Gutmann.

The proposal Gutmann has laid forth provides Amazon the liberty to do whatever they wish with Penn’s Fine Arts Department, including the right to absorb all Fine Arts structures on campus for use as storage facilities. The hook, line, and sinker, however, is that all of the Fine Arts faculty will be contractually obliged to work for Amazon, be it making design decisions on their new products or getting their hands dirty by helping out with the construction of Amazon’s new facilities. 

As for Fine Arts Majors, their classes are expected to shift to involve Amazon-related coursework. FNAR-250, Introduction to Printmaking, which is currently a breadth class in the various forms of printmaking, will become a course that provides students firsthand experiences working in the Amazon copy department. The massive amount of free labor offered by Penn could be a real game changer when it comes down to Amazon’s ultimate decision.

Philly is going to be a big fish in the game of winning Amazon over, and the city has Gutmann to thank for it all. Bezos will have a hard time turning down this one!