Detroit Institute of Arts Will Contribute $100 Million to Fund City Pensions

Detroit's world famous collection is finally safe.

The Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo: Barb Crawford/Flickr.

The Detroit Institute of Art’s prestigious multi-billion dollar art collection is officially safe from creditors and no artworks will ever be sold to satisfy city debt now that Judge Steven Rhodes, who is presiding over the municipal bankruptcy, has approved the so called ‘grand bargain’ which will end the bankruptcy and give the city a chance to heal.

“While bankruptcy is not a cause for celebration, exiting bankruptcy certainly is, and we are all extremely happy for the citizens of Detroit today,” said Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr., chairman of the DIA board. “The DIA is proud of the role it played in helping to position Detroit for a great future, and we are most grateful to our supporters for their strength and encouragement through these very difficult months.”

As part of the Grand Bargain, the DIA and its supporters will contribute $100 million to help fund Detroit pension obligations. The institution says it is very close to achieving that goal. “The DIA’s first payment in support of pensions is ready for transfer to the Fund for Detroit’s Future at the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan,” according to a statement.

According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the decision paves the way for the city to cut about 74 percent of its unsecured debt and frees up cash to reinvest in services. Projected potential savings through more efficient government operations could increase the reinvestment plan to $1.7 billion. According to a the Free Press live blog, the judges said keeping the art for the city was “crucial.”

“We are looking forward to refocusing our attention on art and the future of the DIA,” said DIA director, Graham W. J. Beal. “We will be celebrating Detroit in 2015 through the special exhibition, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit, which focuses on the pivotal role Detroit played in the careers of these two artists.”

“Today is a day of determination for Detroit. With Judge Rhodes’s confirmation, the City and its residents can focus on the important tasks of rebuilding institutions, repairing communities, reinvigorating the economy and restoring the trust of its citizens,” according to a statement emailed to artnet News by the Foundation Funders Group, which includes various backers of the grand bargain such as the Ford Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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