DIA proposes plan that would save its art collection

DIA proposes plan that would save its art collection

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Thursday, at the Detroit Economic Club luncheon, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr made it very clear the Detroit Institute of Art's collection was not immune from being sold to satisfy city creditors. But, he did make clear, that he was open to suggestions for other ways to monetize the collection, that would end with keeping the art in the city.

"I have a fiduciary obligation to account for all the assets of the city of Detroit, and foremost amongst them might very well be DIA," Orr said at the luncheon. "I'm hoping that all of you, in addition to the folks who are operating DIA, ... are able to come up with a solution that makes sense both for the city and for the creditors in that fashion. If they don't though, I have an obligation to develop a solution my own."

The DIA heard Orr's request for suggestions, and have reached out that helping hand. The museum's Chief Operating Officer, Annemarie Erickson, says the museum put together it's own proposal, and it is one that could generate between 400 and 500 million dollars - and keep the art in Detroit.

"What we would propose is that the state considered paying that money to the city - perhaps $20 million over 20 years - and in return, we would provide state-wide services, which we would fundraise separately for. The monetary part of the package would be between the city and the state and we would be a service provider," Erickson explains.

The state used to fund nearly two-thirds of the museum's budget, which equates to about $16 million. But when the state cut the funding the museum cut the state-wide program. Erickson says this proposal could bring that back.

"That's a clear way that we could do this without touching the collection, without selling a thing, and - providing benefits to people beyond the immediate southeast Michigan region. That sounds like a win-win to me and I'd really like to talk to Mr. Orr and Gov. Snyder about that," Erickson adds. She also says they have seen interest for the proposal in Lansing. The museum committee hopes to meet with Orr some time next week.

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