Detroit Institute of Arts Raises Another $26.8 Million to Save Collection

The Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo: cubby_t_bear via Flickr Creative Commons.
The Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo: cubby_t_bear via Flickr Creative Commons.

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) continues to inch towards raising $100 million to fulfill its end of the proposed “Grand Bargain” that would transform the museum into an independent nonprofit, protecting its world-class art collection from the city’s creditors in exchange for bolstering Detroit’s impoverished pension funds. As reported by the Detroit Free Press, an additional $26.8 million in gifts from nine contributors was announced by the museum on the morning of July 16.

The latest crop of donors includes companies, foundations, and wealthy individuals: Roger S. Penske and Penske Corp. leads the pack with $10 million, with DTE Energy kicking in $5 million, along with another $5 million from Quicken Loans and the Rock Ventures Family of Companies. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has offered $2.5 million, while Meijer, Comerica Bank, and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation will give $1 million each. Rounding out the group are Consumers Energy with $800,000 and $500,000 from the Delta Air Lines Foundation.

“I am just overwhelmed,” said mayor Mike Duggan at a press conference. “I have lived and worked in this city my entire life, and I can’t remember a time of such unity and hope.”

Though the museum technically has 20 years to fulfill its share of the bargain, it also needs to raise $200 million over the next 8 years to cover its endowment, which is currently dependent on a local tax that expires in 2022.

The latest round of contributions, which follows a combined $26 million from Detroit’s big three automakers (see artnet News report), and $13 million from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and J. Paul Getty Trust (also reported by artnet News), on top of an additional previously-raised $7 million. Altogether, the museum is nearly 80 percent of the way to its goal, according to DIA officials.

Creditors who are still hoping to monetize the collection were pleased to see it reappraised at $2.8–4.6 billion last week (as reported by artnet News), but it is highly unlikely that the collection would fetch its full value at a sale. As the Wall Street Journal‘s Eric Gibson put it, “in every case, the report argues, the result will be sale prices significantly below the low-end appraisal figure”


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