DIA

Newsmaker Interview
9:33 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Director of the DIA says 'too soon to panic'

Graham Beal is Director, President and CEO of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Interview aired on Tuesday, July 30th, 2013.

Detroit’s bankruptcy filing has triggered waves of speculation about what the future holds for the city. In recent months questions have circled around the Detroit Institute of Arts. The debate is whether the institution's art collection could be used to help Detroit balance its budget. But a recent opinion piece in the New York Times written by Director of the DIA, Graham Beal, cautioned against speculation about the museum’s future. 

Here's a quote from the article:

I call upon  journalists to resist the temptation to jump to disaster scenarios or to make the D.I.A.’s singular and highly complicated situation part of a broader story about the structural challenges faced by museums in general.

Listen to the full interview above.

Economy
4:35 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Detroit's assets are under review amid crushing debt

Art in the DIA is the topic of many discussions about Detroit's future.
Photo courtesy of the DIA

Kevyn Orr is Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager. And he has some pretty extraordinary powers to chart the course of Detroit’s potential bankruptcy—and its future.

Last Friday, Orr took questions from reporters. The very first question he faced was pretty much, ”What’s for sale?”

“Right now there’s nothing for sale, including Howdy Doody.”

Orr was actually referring to the Detroit Institute of Arts, whose collection includes the original puppet from the 1950s children’s TV show. Though no one knows for sure, the DIA’s total assets — which include masterpieces by Van Gogh and Picasso — could be worth about $2.5 billion.

Read more
Arts & Culture
7:17 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

New laws will protect DIA and Detroit Zoo millage funding

The Detroit Institute of Arts
DIA

The Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts will now get millions of dollars in tax revenues as promised from the metro region.

Several metro cities were capturing some of the revenue generated by multi-county millages voters approved to support the zoo and the museum.

The cities claimed they were allowed to by state law. A Wayne County Circuit Court decision supported that claim.

Annmarie Erickson is the Chief Operating Officer of the art museum. She credits the public’s outcry for the new legislation signed into law today. 

Read more
Law
4:06 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Michigan AG says state law protects DIA assets from bankruptcy sale

The Detroit Institute of Arts
Maia C/Flickr

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has released a legal opinion that says the collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts cannot be sold if the city goes into bankruptcy.

The opinion was issued in response to a request by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

The opinion says the assets owned by the Detroit Institute of Art are held in a public trust for the people of Michigan, and cannot be used to pay off the city's debts. Schuette says in the opinion, "In Michigan, we not only appreciate our cultural treasures, we guard them zealously."

Detroit has $15.6 billion dollars in long-term liabilities, and emergency manager Kevyn Orr will need to take some drastic measures to pay those debts.

Kevyn Orr -- who is a bankruptcy attorney and turnaround expert -- is in the middle of negotiating a debt reduction plan with the city's creditors. He has said there are no guarantees the DIA's assets would be off the table in the event of a bankruptcy.

Arts & Culture
3:09 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Detroit's Van Gogh better off in LA? Freep writer says that's crazy

Nancy Kaffer says Detroiters should "keep an eye out for a blonde lady with a chisel near the Diego Rivera murals."
DIA

In a recent piece in Bloomberg, Virginia Postrel (a political and cultural writer) argues that the "cause of art would be better served" if the DIA's major works were in other, 'more deserving' cities.

Her argument:

Read more
Politics & Government
11:36 am
Fri May 31, 2013

Other cultural institutions on notice after DIA assets counted

The Detroit Institute of Arts.
DIA

The Detroit News' Christine Ferretti writes this morning that other Detroit cultural institutions are on high alert after the news came that assets at the Detroit Institute of Arts are being counted as potential assets of the city that can be sold to pay off debts.

Read more
Politics & Government
8:42 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Commentary: Sell Detroit’s art treasures?

Lessenberry commentary for 5/28/2013

Before I went on vacation two weeks ago, I thought I could no longer be shocked by anything that might happen in Detroit.

Earlier this spring, the state took over the control of the city, after decades of decline, neglect, crime and financial mismanagement. Nevertheless, I was stunned to come home to the news that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr might consider selling off the priceless collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts to pay down the city’s massive long-term unfunded liabilities.

Many people didn’t realize the city owned the museum and its collection, which has been run and financed by the private Founders’ Society for years. But technically the city does.

Read more
Politics & Government
11:34 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Could the DIA be forced to sell art to pay creditors?

DIA

Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, wants to account for assets held in the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has sparked fears that part of the collection could be sold in the future.

We've posted information here, and Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will have an update for us later today.

Update 11:34 a.m.

The DIA just put out this statement on their Facebook page:

"The DIA strongly believes that the museum and the City hold the museum’s art collection in trust for the public. The DIA manages and cares for that collection according to exacting standards required by the public trust, our profession and the Operating Agreement with the City. According to those standards, the City cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection. We remain confident that the City and the emergency financial manager will continue to support the museum in its compliance with those standards, and together we will continue to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Detroit."

9:19 a.m.

Detroit is in a big financial hole, and the man in charge of righting the ship wants to know what can be sold.

Mark Stryker and John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press report that Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is considering whether the DIA's art collection should be counted as assets that can be sold to pay debts:

Liquidating DIA art to pay down debt likely would be a monstrously complicated, controversial and contentious process never before tested on such as large scale and with no certain outcome. The DIA is unusual among major civic museums in that the city retains ownership of the building and collection while daily operations, including fund-raising, are overseen by a nonprofit institution.

Stryker and Gallagher report on the many hurdles facing such a sale, including ...

  • restrictions on selling off city assets in municipal bankruptcy law,
  • museum ethics and operating rules that forbid selling art,
  • opposition from patrons who donated art,
  • and major a public outcry against such a sale:

“There would be hue and cry the likes of which you’ve never heard,” said Ford Bell, president of the American Alliance of Museums in Washington, D.C. “The museum should be a rallying point for the rebirth of Detroit and not a source of funds.”

Orr spokesman Bill Nowling said there's no plan yet to sell any asset of the city, but he said all the city's assets must be accounted for.

Read more
Politics & Government
10:57 am
Fri May 24, 2013

In this morning’s news: Orr eyes DIA art as city asset, Hamtramck finances, prom shooting in Saginaw

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Detroit looking to sell art from the DIA?

Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, is considering whether the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts should be counted as a city asset. If so, it could be sold to help cover the city's $15 billion debt.

The DIA Executive Vice President Annmarie Erickson has hired a bankruptcy attorney to help advise how to protect the collection. However, as The Detroit Free Press reports, liquidating the art to help pay the debt would be incredibly complicated and controversial.

Hamtramck faces financial turmoil

According to a state-appointed review team, the City of Hamtramck faces a financial emergency.

The results of the investigation were released on Thursday. Six years ago, Hamtramck emerged from state oversight. Now its more than $3 million in debt. Michigan Radio’s Lindsey Smith reports, if Governor Rick Snyder agrees with what the review team found, city leaders could opt for an emergency manager.

Pre-prom shooting in Saginaw

A 17-year old female died as a result of a shooting at a Saginaw High School pre-prom party.

Three other women were also injured during the shooting and are receiving treatment. According to an MLive report by Jessica Fleischman, the incident occurred in the parking lot of the Florence Event Hall. Officials have not revealed whether the 17-year old was a Saginaw student or if suspects have been identified.

Law
10:05 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Judge dismisses lawsuit against the Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit Institute of Arts
DIA

DETROIT (AP) - A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by five Macomb County residents against the Detroit Institute of Arts over admission fees to a special exhibition.

Macomb County Circuit Court Judge John C. Foster ruled Wednesday the residents didn't have standing to sue and said the cultural institution didn't violate the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.

The residents who sued say they're considering more legal options.

Read more
Stateside
7:27 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Celebrating 80 years of Diego Rivera's 'Detroit Industry Murals'

Detroit Industry, North Wall by Diego Rivera
Wikipedia.org

It was 80 years ago this week that the Detroit Institute of Arts debuted the series of frescoes by Diego Rivera titled "The Detroit Industry Murals."

The 27 panels depict workers and industry in Detroit and Michigan's innovative technology. The murals, and Diego Rivera are renowned around the world.

80 years ago was a stormy time in Detroit history. It was a troubled time for workers, and the country was in the depths of the Depression.

A demonstration by unemployed workers led to five protesters being shot to death by Dearborn Police and Ford security guards - "The Ford Massacre" occurred on March 7th, 1932.

The unveiling of the murals at the DIA sparked a huge controversy. The Detroit News called for the walls of the court to be whitewashed.

The DIA weathered the storm and eventually "Detroit Industry" not only became "accepted," but hailed around the world as a masterpiece.

Unions and labor are in the headlines today, especially with Michigan becoming a right-to-work state this Thursday.

What would Diego Rivera say about the current state of labor and industry in Michigan right now?

Graham Beale is the President of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Graham takes us back to the very beginning, when Diego Rivera was brought to Detroit to create these murals. He talks about the uproar that occurred after the unveiling of the murals and what they mean to us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Arts & Culture
4:12 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Legislation proposed to block communities from keeping funds for Detroit Zoo and DIA

State Rep. Eileen Kowall is proposing 7 bills to protect funding for the Detroit Zoo and the DIA.
The Woodward Spine

The Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts are supposed to get a cut of taxes collected from the greater metro region.

But dozens of cities and townships have been holding out, thanks to tax loopholes.

Republican Representative Eileen Kowall says the people of Metro Detroit voted to send these taxes to the zoo and the DIA.

Read more
Arts & Culture
7:05 am
Sun February 3, 2013

Detroit art museum to display van Gogh painting

"Bedroom in Arles" by Vincent van Gogh
Detroit Institute of Arts

DETROIT (AP) - The Detroit Institute of Arts will display a famous Vincent van Gogh work later this month.

"Bedroom in Arles" is on loan from the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. It'll be on view at the DIA from Feb. 19 to May 28.

The painting will be installed along with three other van Gogh paintings owned by the Detroit museum.

Van Gogh produced three almost identical paintings on the theme of his bedroom. The first, in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, was created in 1888 but damaged in a flood while the artist was in a hospital in Arles, France.

Arts & Culture
11:48 am
Wed August 15, 2012

DIA attendance more than triples after voter-approved millage

The Diego Rivera mural at the DIA. The museum had a good week after their millage passed in three counties.
DIA

Last Tuesday, the Detroit Institute of Arts got a major vote of confidence from area voters when they approved a millage request to fund the museum. Taxpayer support means the museum will have a stable source of funding for the next ten years.

The next day, the museum was free to the residents in Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties.

Read more
morning news roundup
7:00 am
Mon July 30, 2012

In this morning's state news headlines. . .

User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Bolger and Schmidt answer to complaints about breaking campaign finance laws

State House Speaker Jase Bolger and state Representative Roy Schmidt have a little less than three weeks to answer complaints they broke campaign finance laws. A complaint by the Kent County prosecutor filed with the Secretary of State names just Schmidt. One filed by Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer names both of them. The two plotted to keep a serious Democratic challenger off the ballot after Schmidt jumped from the Democrats to the Republicans. House Republican spokesman Ari Adler says no laws were broken, but the speaker will back legislation to stop what they tried to do from happening in the future.  The Secretary of State sent letters last week to Bolger and Schmidt informing them there is an official inquiry underway.

Biden in Detroit

Vice President Joe Biden has been out on the campaign trail. He rallied teachers in Detroit Sunday. That’s where the American Federation of Teachers is holding its annual convention. "Biden went after Mitt Romney and Republicans in Congress for budget plans that would slash federal education spending. He said Republicans have consistently opposed proposals to keep teachers and other public employees on the job through the economic downturn," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Detroit Institute of Arts vote

Voters in three counties will soon decide the fate of a tax millage for the Detroit Institute of Arts. Museum officials say the DIA could shut down if a 10 year property tax doesn't pass. Voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties will decide August 7th. The museum no longer receives state funding. But Critics say the DIA's campaign exaggerates the museum's financial struggles. The property tax would bring in roughly 230 million dollars over 10 years. Residents in counties that approve it will get free admission to the museum.

Commentary
12:10 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Funding the Arts

I have been a member of the Detroit Institute of Arts for many years, and I have to confess that I don’t go nearly often enough. A couple times a year, maybe, and more often to its courtyard, a wonderful place for lunch if you are in the city.

Yet even when I can’t get to the museum, I am always happy to know it is there. Detroit and Michigan have seen more prosperous days. But it is nice to know that this city and state are still home to one of the nation’s top six comprehensive fine arts museums.

Having that quality continue, however, depends on the outcome of a small millage request on the primary ballot in just the three core Detroit-area metropolitan counties - Wayne, Oakland and Macomb.  Voters will be asked to approve two-tenths of a mill for the DIA for the next decade.

Translated into dollars, that means that if you own a house worth one hundred and twenty thousand, the DIA will cost you a dollar a month. If you rent, voting for the millage costs you nothing.

If the millage passes in all three counties, it should mean about twenty-three million a year for the DIA, depending on what happens with housing values. It will mean the museum will be able to continue to do the same quality exhibitions it has been doing.

Plus, citizens of any counties that approve the millage will get in free, and the art institute will stay open more hours and days.

I was assured of all that by Annmarie Erickson, the museum’s chief operating officer. She is cautiously optimistic that this time the millage will pass. What if only one of two of the three counties approve? Well, Macomb has a provision that its citizens will only have to pay if the other two counties also approve the millage.

If voters in either Wayne or Oakland County approve, however, the millage would be collected there. Those who support the DIA are cautiously optimistic, even though voters turned arts funding down twice about a decade ago. Those elections proposed appropriating money for an assortment of agencies; this one is for the DIA alone.

There are a number of misconceptions around. One is that the museum already gets city and state money. It used to; it doesn’t anymore. Another is that it is an exclusively a Detroit-area institution. But the DIA currently has art out on long-term loan to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and often makes its treasures available elsewhere. DIA experts have assisted and advised museums across Michigan.

Some have complained that the public shouldn’t have to pay for art. But is like saying public education should only be for the rich. One legislator suggested the museum should spend its endowment, and some have even suggested the DIA sell its art work to keep going. Those would be short paths to institutional suicide.

The value of public treasures is hard to quantify, mainly because it is beyond value. Metropolitan Detroit may not be as rich as it once was, but that’s no reason our public spaces should look like North Korea’s. We still have a world-class art museum.
 If that isn’t worth a dollar a month, I don’t know what is.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio’s Political Analyst.  Views expressed by Jack Lessenberry are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management or the station licensee, the University of Michigan.

Arts & Culture
3:17 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

DIA displays more than 100 works by Picasso and Matisse in new exhibit

Matisse - Circus, 1943
Pamela Marcil Detroit Institute of Arts

 

The Detroit Institute of Arts opened a new exhibition today comprised of works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

"Picasso and Matisse: The DIA's Prints and Drawings" will run through January. Showcasing the institute's collection, the exhibit explores the artists' stylistic progression, with 110 prints and drawings across a broad range of media.

Read more
Arts & Culture
2:20 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

DIA millage request a step closer in Oakland County

Part of the Diego Rivera mural "Detroit Industry" at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts is looking for new revenue streams.

The DIA is owned by the struggling city of Detroit and hopes to get a millage proposal in front of voters in Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties this August.

Wayne and Macomb county commissioners voted to create county arts authorities. The county arts authorities would be responsible for drafting the millage request that would go before voters.

Now, Oakland County has taken a step toward creating a county arts authority.

More from the Detroit News:

A committee of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday to send a millage request from the Detroit Institute of Arts to a vote by the full commission.

The general government committee's 6-4 approval means the measure will go before the full 25-member commission at its next meeting May 17. At that point, it will be voting on whether to create a five-member county arts authority responsible for crafting language that would appear on the August ballot.

Macomb and Wayne counties have each approved an arts authority.

If the renowned arts museum cannot raise the revenue, the museum could go into what the executive vice president of the DIA called a "controlled shutdown."

Annmarie Erickson, executive vice president of the DIA, says the  museum is operating at "bare-bone levels." She says if they can’t secure more money, the museum will go into what she calls a “controlled shutdown”:

"We will lose hours, we will probably lose most of our programming, we will certainly lose visitor amenities. Special exhibits like the very popular "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" - we would no longer be able to afford those."

Erickson said the revenue raised by the millage would be temporary. It would give the museum more time to raise private funds to build its endowment.

Arts/Culture
3:39 pm
Sat April 28, 2012

Detroit students' work on exhibit at art institute

(courtesy of the DIA)

DETROIT (AP) — Paintings, prints, drawings, photography, ceramics and other pieces of art created by Detroit Public Schools students are on display in an exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The 75th annual exhibition began Saturday. It runs through June 3. Viewing is free with regular museum admission.

The artists and their parents attended an opening reception Saturday afternoon.

Detroit Public Schools emergency manager Roy Roberts said at the reception it was "incredible" to "see these young people express themselves and find their voices."

Read more
Arts/Culture
4:50 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Macomb County says 'no' to proposed DIA millage

Photo courtesy of the DIA

The Detroit Institute of Arts wanted to ask Macomb County residents to pay a tax to help bring in much-needed cash for the museum, which has already cut 20 percent of its staff and reduced its budget.

But county commissioners killed the idea.

Wayne County Commissioners last month voted to create an arts authority to look at getting a DIA millage proposal in front of voters.

Read more

Pages