#1 DIA's art collection at risk amid Detroit's financial woes05-25-2013, 12:05 AM
DETROIT (WJBK) -
Officials say the Detroit Institute of Arts' collection could be sold to help satisfy creditors if the financially troubled city of Detroit seeks bankruptcy protection.
Bill Nowling, a spokesman for state-appointed emergency manager says Kevyn Orr, says Orr is considering whether the collection should be considered city assets that could be sold to cover Detroit's long-term debt. The debt is estimated at more than $14 billion.
Click the video player to hear what Detroit citizens have to say about the idea.
"As Kevyn Orr has said many times, he is considering many different options to help rectify Detroit's fiscal crisis," said Nowling. "What I can say is that there is no formal plan on the table to sell any Detroit asset, the DIA or otherwise.
The museum says it's hired a bankruptcy attorney to suggest ways to protect the collection from possible losses. In a statement, the DIA says it "and the city hold the museum's art collection in trust for the public" and that "the city cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection."
So how much is the museum's collection worth? According to a report from Crain's Detroit Business, a city report from 2004, when the DIA was still a city department, valued the collection at more than $1 billion.
The city owns the Detroit Institute of Arts' building and collection, while daily operations are overseen by a nonprofit. The scope of Orr's power as an emergency manager to sell the collection or any other major assets, such as the city's water department, likely would be tested in court.
"I am not shocked by anything that occurs in this city lately," said Annmarie Erickson, Executive Vice President at the DIA. "I think all of us are a little battle worn over what has been happening in the city of Detroit."
Read more: http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/22...#ixzz2UGncy0pS
I would think this would be a given.
05-28-2013, 10:09 AM
What Kevin Orr is trying to do is to protect the assets of the DIA against bankruptcy seizures, starting by establishing a net worth of the collection.
A lot of the art can't be seized because it was donated by specific people and organizations. There is also the complication that all three metro counties are now paying a millage (we voted to do so) that supports the DIA, so ownership is kind of regional now.
I don't think the artwork will be auctioned off or sold to pay the city's debts.
05-28-2013, 10:50 AM
This is a result of government by liberals with a welfare state mentality. They forget that someone has to pay the bills. It would be a blow to Detroit to lose one of their assets, but it's understandable that somehow they have to pay their bills. There are a lot of foreclosures in Florida, where folks bought places that they couldn't afford. The economy hurt too many here, as did the greed that brought it on with all the flipping houses and giving loans to people who didn't have a prayer of paying those mortgages. Cities need to keep their fiscal house in order the same as families.
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05-28-2013, 02:05 PM
Well, one of the most popular works at the DIA is the Diego Rivera mural "Detroit Industry". Since it's painted on the walls of one of the "courts" in the museum, it can't be sold.
I still don't think that the art is going to get auctioned off anytime soon, but there are some amazing pieces at the museum. It's not as big of a collection as Chicago has, but it has some real treasures.
They were explaining on the news that even if there were seizures by bankruptcy court, most of the collection is not seizable-anything that was donated by someone (as opposed to purchased by the DIA itself) is not sellable. Ownership reverts to the donors, who usually have names like Ford/Dodge/etc. The most valuable pieces generally fall into this category.
The city council was really stupid a few months ago (among many other times)-the state offered to buy Belle Isle Park and they refused the sale. It's probably the final decision that pushed the governor into naming an emergency manager.
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