DIA responds to idea of selling artwork if Detroit goes into bankruptcy

Spokesman for emergency manager says Detroit Institute of Arts is told to be ready if city goes into bankruptcy

DETROIT - The city of Detroit is so deep in debt that there's an interesting and alarming question now being asked: Could creditors - the people, businesses and organizations that the city?

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New Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has asked for an appraisal of the collection.

On Friday, the DIA posted the following statement on Facebook:

The DIA strongly believes that the museum and the City hold the museum's art collection in trust for the public. The DIA manages and cares for that collection according to exacting standards required by the public trust, our profession and the Operating Agreement with the City. According to those standards, the City cannot sell art to generate funds for any purpose other than to enhance the collection. We remain confident that the City and the emergency financial manager will continue to support the museum in its compliance with those standards, and together we will continue to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Detroit.

The Emergency Manager's spokesperson says asking for the art appraisal is simply a step in the city is getting all of its ducks in a row - they'll be asking creditors to take a loss.

The CFO for the DIA told Local 4 that selling any artwork from the museum shouldn't be an option for the city. They've even hired an attorney just in case.

"The emergency financial manager and the governor have both said that their goal is to leave Detroit stronger after this process and I cannot believe that anyone thinks dismantling the DIA would leave Detroit stronger," said Annmarie Erickson, the CFO of the DIA.

Erickson added that auctioning off works to the highest bidder would to little to help with the city's problems. She also said that it would violate the operating agreement with the city.

"I think it's a terrible idea. I recognize we're in a crisis situation, but you don't sell off all you assets," said Sarida Scott from metro Detroit.

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