Early last month, Complex contributor Kyle Chayka penned an essay about Detroit's resilience in the wake of its newly declared bankruptcy and the prospect of having to auction the city's art. Despite the continued efforts of its citizens to pick up the pieces and fight this possibly impending reality, the debate persists as to whether the Detroit Institute of Arts will need to sell its collection to repay the city's debt.
At a Detroit Economic Club luncheon yesterday, Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr said that selling the collection is still very much on the table. He said, "I'm deferring to them to save themselves, but if they don't, I'll take them up."
In response, DIA has offered a plan to Michigan governor Rick Snyder to get millions of dollars in state funding. This would replace the $400-$500 million that the DIA art collection is valued at. However, Detroit's total debts amount to $18 billion, so selling DIA's art would only make a small dent in the total sum.
Orr added, "This is the moment. We have the opportunity to reset the table for our future." The art world is concerned that this also reprioritizes the preservation of culture for America's cities in years to come.
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