Toyota Gives $1 Million to Save Detroit Institute of Arts

Another step in the right direction for Detroit's Grand Bargain.

The Detroit Institute of Arts. Photo: Kath Usitalo, via Great Lakes Gazette.

In a somewhat ironic turn of events, Japanese auto maker Toyota has pledged $1 million to the “Grand Bargain” that will fund pensioners and save the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) collection from being sold to satisfy creditors in bankrupt Detroit, reports CBS Local Detroit.

The car company’s money will go toward the $100 million that the DIA must contribute to the $816 million deal. The state of Michigan and a number of major foundations have agreed to cover the rest of the amount. The deal will cover pension shortfalls, keeping cuts to a minimum (as reported by artnet News, pensioners have already approved the plan), and transfer the museum’s ownership from the city to an independent charitable trust, taking the collection off the bargaining table for creditors eager to monetize the valuable art.

“Toyota is committing one million dollars to support the Grand Bargain to help the City of Detroit and keep the Detroit Institute of Arts alive and well,” said Toyota’s North American president and chief executive officer, Simon Nagata, in a speech.

Thanks to donations from a number of companies and foundations, the museum has already raised more than 80 percent of its $100 million goal (see artnet News report). Local automotive giants Ford and General Motors have pledged $10 million each to the museum, while  Chrysler is chipping in $6 million (see artnet News article).

“I had been wondering how Toyota could help the people in this community overcome a most difficult time,” Nagata told CBS Local Detroit. “We will be more involved in philanthropic activity in South East Michigan.”

Of course, the rise of overseas car manufacturing was a huge contributing factor to the decline of Detroit’s famed auto industry, which is in turn a major component of the current bankruptcy. One could even argue that without the success of Toyota and its ilk, there would be no need for the Grand Bargain in the first place.

The bankruptcy trial, presided over by Judge Steven Rhodes and in which the museum hopes its Grand Bargain will be approved, begins August 21.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.