Save the Detroit Institute of Arts
I’ve lived in Detroit on and off for the last 25 years. I’ve been to the DIA countless times and the collection is never anything less than amazing. The staff is dedicated and innovative and they absolutely deserve this millage, which only costs the average household $15/year. I’m reaching out to all DETROIT voters in MACOMB, OAKLAND, and WAYNE counties to help save the Detroit Institute of Arts. Please vote YES on the Tuesday August 7th millage.
The DIA is in danger of closing its doors. All it takes is for you to vote YES on this low-cost millage on Tuesday August 7th. For more info, visit www.artisforeveryone.org/faq and check out the highlights below. Thank you, everyone!
Why is the DIA so amazing?
The DIA has been a beacon of culture for the Detroit area for well over a century. Founded in 1885, the museum was originally located on Jefferson Avenue, but, due to its rapidly expanding collection, moved to a larger site on Woodward Avenue in 1927. The new Beaux-Arts building, designed by Paul Cret, was immediately referred to as the “temple of art.” Two wings were added in the 1960s and 1970s, and a major renovation and expansion that began in 1999 was completed in 2007.
The museum covers 658,000 square feet that includes more than 100 galleries, a 1,150-seat auditorium, a 380-seat lecture/recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory.
The DIA’s collection is among the top six in the United States, comprising a multicultural and multinational survey of human creativity from prehistory through the 21st century. The foundation was laid by William Valentiner, a scholar and art historian from Berlin, who was director from 1924 to 1945 . His extensive contacts in Europe, along with support from generous patrons, enabled him to acquire many important works that established the framework of today’s collections. Among the notable acquisitions during his tenure are Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry fresco cycle, which Rivera considered his most successful work, and Vincent Van Gogh’s Self Portrait, the first van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum collection.
A hallmark of the DIA is the diversity of the collection. In addition to outstanding American, European, Modern and Contemporary, and Graphic art, the museum holds significant works of African, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, Islamic, and Ancient art. Among these are the masterpiece sculpture Nail Figure from Zaire and a rare Korean Head of Buddha. In 2000, the DIA established the General Motors Center for African American Art as a curatorial department in order to broaden the museum’s collection of African American art.
The museum’s director is Graham W. J. Beal, who arrived in 1999 from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. During his tenure Beal has established the General Motors Center for African American Art (2000), instituted a reorganization of the development and curatorial departments, and oversaw a six-year building renovation and gallery reinstallation project.
Why does the DIA need a millage?
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) had been supported by public funds from 1893 to the early 1990s. For nearly 100 years the City General Fund and private philanthropy provided sole support for the museum as it grew to be one of the world’s major art museums. An appropriately sized operating endowment—an important component of the business model for most large cultural organizations—was never established.
In the 1970s, the State of Michigan recognized the museum’s unique contribution to the entire state and incorporated financial support for the museum into the state budget. Beginning in the early 1990s state support for the museum was slowly but steadily reduced, a situation that was accelerated as a series of economic downturns hit the state. At the same time, the city’s ability to support the museum was sharply reduced until all city funding was eliminated.
Today the DIA does not receive any funds from the state, city or county. The elimination of all public funding for operations has required the museum to turn almost entirely to the private sector, an operating model that is not sustainable, particularly in the current economy.
The museum’s ultimate goal is to become financially self-sustaining. After considerable research and evaluation, a dedicated millage to temporarily restore public funding for the DIA, which would allow fundraising to focus on building an operating endowment, was identified as the most viable option to guarantee the DIA’s continuing viability and eventual non-reliance on public funding.
How large of a millage will the DIA need, and for how long?
The DIA is asking for 0.2 mil for 10 years.
How much would 0.2 mil cost each homeowner?
It would cost approximately $15 per year for every $150,000 of a home’s fair market value.
What counties are included in the millage?
Wayne, Oakland and Macomb Counties.
Thanks for reading, all. It really is an important issue and can do wonders for the city. I really hope you’ll support them.
All the best,