Detroit Institute of Arts holds meeting, works to safeguard its collection

DIA may sell off art to separate to be created non-profit

Author: Mara MacDonald, Local 4 Reporter, @MaraMacDonald
Troy A. Blevins, Online Editor, Producer (@troyblevins)
Published On: Dec 04 2013 11:00:00 PM EST   Updated On: Dec 04 2013 11:41:31 PM EST
Detroit Institute of Arts
DETROIT -

There have been ongoing closed door talks between a federal mediator, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the charitable giving community.

However, two things were clear Wednesday night -- the DIA is going to have to come up with at least $200 million to take the paintings off the auction block, and the museum is working on a plan to safeguard the collection once and for all, which includes selling it off to a separate to be created non-profit.

Read: Auction house: Detroit's DIA art worth as much as $866M

The museum is currently owned by the City of Detroit, but it is operated and managed by DIA Corp., which is essentially a city contractor, one that can be fired, one that can be dissolved and one that has been steadfast in maintaining that selling the art out of this museum to help balance the books is a betrayal of the community.

"At the end of the day they're our contractor," said Kevyn Orr. "We are trying to be reasonable in dealing with this issue, so consequently we have negotiations with our contractor on behalf of the city to try to reach a resolution. I am hopeful we will reach some resolution, but I don't want anybody to be confused about the situation."

Orr made it clear in a sit down interview he doesn't want to sell anything out of the museum.

The judge has made it clear selling the entire collection wouldn't fix the financial mess the city is in.

With that said, money will have to come out of the DIA in some form to help balance the books.

Sources told Local 4 on Wednesday evening they're looking at coming up with between $200 to $350 million to buy the collection. They're hustling for foundation dollars as we speak. It's not just foundations either -- they're hoping the auto companies can help out as well.

However, this can't just be a massive check to bail out the artwork at one time. In return, the masterpieces would then no longer be owned by the City of Detroit but to a created non-profit, unless the museum can convince a single already non-profit entity to pony up the entire sum.

Read: Detroit Institute of Arts statement on Detroit's bankruptcy filing

Special section: Detroit bankruptcy