Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Save the Detroit Institute of Arts!

That headline might contain a bit of hyperbole, but exactly how much remains to be seen. A few days ago, reports hit the media that Christie's auction house in New York City will appraise artwork in the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) as part of efforts to resolve Detroit's financial woes. Christie's says that its appraisal is simply a method of helping the city determine the artwork's value for Detroit's bankruptcy proceedings, and that the city has no intention of selling any of the DIA's pieces. Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, echoed that sentiment. Here's a Detroit News article with more information:

EM Orr hires Christie's to appraise DIA art

The thought that the DIA might find its halls razed of priceless artwork leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach, especially because the DIA is such a vibrant part of the community, a beacon of culture in a city that all too often gets bashed in the media for its supposed coarseness. I sincerely hope city and state leaders aren't so shortsighted that they would agree to destroy an institution that has served Detroit for over 125 years in the interest of paying off what will probably be a drop in the bucket in terms of what the city owes. I know I don't have much of a leg to stand on when saying this because I don't live in Detroit and therefore don't have a direct stake in its financial woes, but I truly believe that some things are worth more than money. If sold, the DIA's artwork, which includes pieces from European masters as well as an extensive collection of African American art, will never be reclaimed. Instead of exposing thousands of visitors, young and old, rich and poor, to the beauty of human creativity, each piece of art would sit on a collector's shelf, gathering dust while its owner waits for it to appreciate in value so that he or she can sell it to another collector.

However, as Christie's and city leaders say, that isn't their intention, so let's hope none of this ever comes to pass. Please share this post with your friends and family so that they are aware of the situation and can join their voices in support of the DIA. Also, if you're so inclined, please sign this petition to protest the possible selling of the DIA's artwork:

Save the DIA

And check out the DIA's website here:

Detroit Institute of Arts

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