It's not really a secret that the city of Detroit is in lots and lots of trouble. Even with an emergency manager working to guide it through bankruptcy, a number of the city's institutions remain in very serious danger. One of the most notable is the Detroit Institute of Arts, a 658,000-square-foot behemoth of art that counts works from Van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin and Rembrandt (not to mention a version of Rodin's iconic "The Thinker," shown above) as part of its permanent collection.

Throughout the bankruptcy, the DIA has been under threat, with art enthusiasts, historians and fans of the museum concerned that its expansive collection – valued between $454 and $867 million by Christie's – could be sold by the city to help square its $18.5-billion debt.

Now, though, Detroit's hometown automakers could be set to step up and help save the renowned museum. According to a report from The Detroit News, the charitable arms of General Motors, Ford and Chrysler could be set to donate $25 million as part of a DIA-initiated campaign, called the "grand bargain." As part of the deal, the DIA would seek $100 million in corporate donations as part of a larger attempt at putting together an $816-million package that would be paid to city pension funds over 20 years. Such a move would protect the city's art collection from being sold off.

The charitable donation is still far from a done deal, though, largely because of legal complications inherent in such a large bankruptcy case. According to The DetNews, there's concern among business leaders approached by the DIA (which in addition to the automakers include utility provider DTE Energy, Roger Penske and Quicken Loans) that the entire project could fall apart if city lawmakers don't act on it quickly. Alternatively, the deal could crumble if plans put before the city's pensioners and unions ends up failing.

"Ford has been a long-time supporter of the DIA and its contributions to southeast Michigan. We are having confidential discussions with the DIA and are considering the matter very carefully," Ford spokesman Todd Nissen told The News.

"The DIA must be central to any plans for a revitalized Detroit. Both GM and the GM Foundation are giving careful consideration to how we can help preserve this treasure at such a critical time," GM spokesman Greg Martin said.

Chrysler issued a shorter statement, telling The Detroit News that it "is committed to playing a positive role in Detroit's revitalization. Accordingly, we are reviewing the DIA's request."


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  • 20 Comments
      SpikedLemon
      • 7 Months Ago
      Here's a thought: lease the art out to other institutions on fixed terms (or even to corporate citizens). Re-open when funding is available. Selling is permanent and rebuilding such a collection would take many-fold the costs (consider the acquisition costs in both time / money plus any restorations, etc...)
        Justin
        • 7 Months Ago
        @SpikedLemon
        Here's a thought - @#$% Wall Street, the only reason Detroit is in this bankruptcy mess.
      BodyBlue
      • 7 Months Ago
      The ugly blister known a Detroit is a revolting hell hole of Democratic politics. There is no way anybody can be blamed but the Dems that run Detroit. And the people of Detroit get what they deserve....they are the ones that keep voting in the scumbags. Sorry to be so blunt but there it is.......
      AngeloD
      • 7 Months Ago
      Ford, GM, and Chrysler would presumably take a tax deduction for this "charitable contribution" designed to bail out the City of Detroit's pension fund. Which means we all wind up chipping in to save these clowns in the Democratic party who have run Detroit into the ground.
      manure
      • 7 Months Ago
      Why not just tell the mafia to get lost and leave the city alone?
        BodyBlue
        • 7 Months Ago
        @manure
        The not-politically correct answer is that the Obama admin is terrified of being raped by the professional screamers in society (Al Sharpton etc.). Detroit has been run by black Dems for decades now and have corruption is so deep that it would take a major effort to clean it up. The screams of racism would be deafening.....and Barry is afraid even to lose one more vote in the upcoming blood bath for the Dems known as the 2014 mid-terms. Its not racist to point out the obvious, but those that scream the loudest get the most attention, so everybody is terrified to talk about Detroit.
          inktownlegend
          • 7 Months Ago
          @BodyBlue
          "Detroit has been run by black Dems for decades now and have corruption is so deep that it would take a major effort to clean it up." Agree. However it started with a white Republican by the name of Louis Miriani that was convicted of federal tax evasion and followed by white Democrat named Jerome Cavanagh. This was all ten years before those big bad "black Dems". It has been going downhill since. Race and/or political party don't make a difference when there are no jobs and jobs have been leaving the region for over forty years. Corruption is corruption regardless of race or party and when people speak out of their ass like you without knowing the full story or omitting facts they come off as uninformed fools. You may sound intelligent to your group of friends but to anyone that actually KNOWS their history, you sound ignorant (uninformed). Also opportunist like Sharpton and Jackson are good for the white community. They tell blacks to "go home and let the legal system work things out", or have a peaceful march with signs. If they were not there saying crap like that there would be riots that spilled over into the white communities. That will get your attention and force change. So you should thank them. Any black person with common sense knows this and shake their head when those two show up. You can take a look at any area that has lost as many jobs and population as the Detroit metro area and see the same type of issues. Most of Detroit's problems stem from globalization and corruption (again race and political party don't matter) and can affect other areas regardless or their political makeup and race. If you don't learn from history you will be doomed to repeat it. Not gonna be a blunt as I should and go on a rant but there you go......
      hn376rar
      • 7 Months Ago
      Didn't some/all of the big 3 just donate a bunch of vehicles to the city? When do you stop spending good money after bad money...
      churchmotor
      • 7 Months Ago
      LOL, this is like throwing a penny into a wishing well. Detroit is so broken and deep in debt, this is nothing. Sell the art! You can't afford it.
      Mike M
      • 7 Months Ago
      "$816-million package that would be paid to city pension funds" Well there is a big problem, city workers unions. LA is going to be Detroit in 10 - 15 years.
      RGT881
      • 7 Months Ago
      The statue in the picture - the pose happens to be precisely the same one I am in when I sit on the throne.
      Moosetang
      • 7 Months Ago
      Hope it works. I'd hate to see that art ending up on some d-bag hedge fund managers' bathroom walls.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 7 Months Ago
      Or how about a compromise? Detroit gets to keep all the artwork, but it will lease these works of art out in order to generate an income stream. That way, you retain the assets, but get to generate some income off of it.
      Moosetang
      • 7 Months Ago
      Type your comment hereHope it works. I'd hate to see that art ending up on a bunch of d-bag hedge fund managers' bathroom walls.
      churchmotor
      • 7 Months Ago
      LOL, this is like throwing a penny into a wishing well. Detroit is so broken and deep in debt, this is nothing. Sell the art! You can't afford it.
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