Arts & Culture
1:25 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

Timeline: The complicated relationship between the DIA and the city of Detroit

Even before Detroit officially filed for bankruptcy last July, many Michiganders and outsiders feared for the future of the Detroit Institute of Arts – the city’s so-called "crown jewel."

With the city in financial turmoil, the newly appointed emergency manager of Detroit started a catalog of city assets. Many feared the DIA's status as a city asset would mean part of the museum’s collection could be sold off to satisfy creditors.

We saw petitionswebsites, and Facebook posts all arguing that selling off artwork would be an unprecedented move.

But while the talk around the DIA may be unprecedented in the art world, it’s not so unprecedented in the context of the DIA's history.

The Detroit Free Press’s Mark Stryker offered a phenomenally thorough look back at the DIA last September. Others, too, have done their part in sharing the history of the museum – from historians to art professors.

To put that history in context, we made this timeline. You can see patterns emerge as you scroll through the 126-year-long relationship between Detroit and the museum.

To borrow from Facebook, that relationship is, at best, complicated.

The museum suffered major cuts during the Great Depression. Financial problems closed its doors for three weeks in 1975. Severe state budget cuts in the 1990s squeezed the DIA’s budget.

Check out the timeline below, or you can see a full page view of the timeline here.

We don't include every little DIA detail, just the big moments. Let us know if you think we missed something, or send us any of your questions below.

– Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom