The Detroit Institute of Arts’ highly regarded art collection, with paintings by Degas, Cézanne, Seurat, Van Gogh to Brueghel and Caravaggio has been saved by generous donations from foundations and private individuals. Mary Barra, chief executive of General Motors, the city’s most influential personality said “Working together, we can transform the city,” “You can see clear progress in the restoration of downtown, the entrepreneurs who are flocking here, the massive building projects getting underway and the work being done to improve education, neighborhoods and city services,” she added. “
On 6 November, Judge Steven Rhodes’ announced that he would sign an order confirming approval of Detroit’s plan of adjustment. The Detroit Institute of Arts along with other institutions comprise part of the Grand Bargain that the City will exit bankruptcy with its cultural heritage intact and with the Detroit Institute of Arts preserved and protected. The Grand Bargain, an essential component of the plan of adjustment, provides funding for City pension obligations from local and national foundations, the State of Michigan and the DIA, while ensuring that the DIA’s art collection will be held in trust for the public.
“While bankruptcy is not a cause for celebration, exiting bankruptcy certainly is, and we are all extremely happy for the citizens of Detroit today,” said Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr., chairman of the DIA Board of Directors. “The DIA is proud of the role it played in helping to position Detroit for a great future, and we are most grateful to our supporters for their strength and encouragement through these very difficult months.”
As part of the Grand Bargain, the DIA and its supporters will contribute $100 million to help fund Detroit pension obligations, and is very close to achieving that goal. The DIA’s first payment in support of pensions is ready for transfer to the Fund for Detroit’s Future at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. The DIA is most appreciative of the support it has received from a wide range of foundations, corporations and individual donors.
“We are looking forward to refocusing our attention on art and the future of the DIA,” said DIA director, Graham W. J. Beal. “We will be celebrating Detroit in 2015 through the special exhibition, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit, which focuses on the pivotal role Detroit played in the careers of these two artists.”
With Detroit’s bankruptcy over, the DIA’s collection and property will be transferred to the nonprofit corporation that has been operating the museum since 1998. Museum leadership will now return its attention to raising endowment to ensure its future financial stability and to continuing to provide exceptional art experiences to the residents of Detroit, Michigan and beyond.
Uncertainty surrounding one of the largest, most significant art collections in the US has made headlines since In 2012 Christie’s Auctioneers was called in to assess the value of the collection with the thought of selling off the art as an asset to cover a gap in pensions and social services. The preliminary estimate valued the top end of the collection at over $1b but it was thought to be worth much more as Christie’s only assessed the top 5% of the inventory, which includes over 66,000 catalogued items.