The Detroit Institute of Arts was ready: the museum released a statement immediately after the Bankruptcy Court’s ruling today that Detroit is eligible for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy (in which specific reference to the DIA collection was made). As we expected, DIA took aim at last week’s creditors, and make clear its vehement objection to the capitalization of the museum’s collection. The statement reads:
The DIA supports the Emergency Manager’s efforts to address the City’s current financial crisis. The DIA hopes that Judge Rhodes’ ruling today, which confirms that the City is eligible to proceed in its Chapter 9 bankruptcy case, will lead to a quicker and more effective resolution of the crisis.
As it has since the beginning of this matter, the DIA will continue to support the City and all responsible attempts to develop and implement a plan that will contribute to the revitalization of Detroit. Through the support of museum donors and the residents of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties, the DIA will continue to operate the museum without City financial support, saving Detroit $350 million in expenses over the next 10 years and giving the people of Michigan ready access to world-class artistic and educational experiences. The DIA will maintain its position as a cornerstone of the vibrant economic and social community that continues to take shape in Midtown Detroit, and will continue to work with local, regional, and national foundations and businesses to help raise funds to address the City’s financial crisis without dismantling the museum.
The DIA art collection is a cultural resource of the people of Detroit, the tri-county area and the entire State of Michigan. The museum’s collection is the result of more than a century of public and private charitable contributions for the benefit of the public. Protected by a charitable and public trust, the collection has survived several municipal fiscal crises and financial downturns, including the Great Depression, free from threats to its existence.
The DIA therefore opposes the motion filed last week by certain City creditors to allow them to form a committee to oversee the valuation and sale or “monetization” of the museum art collection to satisfy municipal obligations. The DIA remains hopeful that the Emergency Manager will recognize the City’s fiduciary duty to protect the museum art collection for future generations and that he will abide by the Michigan Attorney General’s opinion that the City holds the art collection in trust and cannot use it to satisfy City obligations. If the art is placed in jeopardy, the DIA remains committed to take action to preserve this cultural birthright for future generations.