Other cultural institutions on notice after DIA assets counted

May 31, 2013

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.

Officials at the Detroit Historical Society, which rotates artifacts from its 250,000-piece collection between two Detroit museums, said they are determining their next steps in the wake of the DIA controversy.

"We're continuing to evaluate the situation internally. We're concerned about it," said Bob Bury, the Detroit Historical Society's executive director. "Everyone recognizes that cultural institutions are very important to the community and in many ways define the community."

Besides the Detroit Historical Society, Ferretti writes that these other institutions are paying close attention to the situation:

  • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
  • Historic Fort Wayne
  • The Detroit Zoo

Orr spokesman Nowling says all they are doing now is tallying up the city's assets:

"This is a very critical time in the restructuring process of the city. We have to sit down with our creditors in the coming weeks with a restructuring plan for them to consider," Nowling said. "Part of that restructuring plan has to have a real and accurate valuation of all the city assets."

Legislation has been introduced in Lansing to to keep the city from selling its art, but experts wonder whether such a law would be legal in federal bankruptcy proceedings.