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DIA exterior at night
DIA exterior at night

City of Detroit Arts Commission passes Resolution to protect Detroit Institute of Arts’ Collection - Resolution affirms Michigan attorney general’s opinion issued earlier this year

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Contact: Pamela Marcil  313-833-7899  pmarcil@dia.org    www.dia.org
              Larisa Zade      313-833-7962   lzade@dia.org 


(Detroit)—At a meeting at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) yesterday, the City of Detroit’s Arts Commission passed a resolution affirming Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s opinion that the City and the DIA hold the museum’s collection in a charitable trust. The resolution further advises the museum’s leadership, with the support of the Commission, to “continue to pursue all avenues for successful resolution of the issues related to the City of Detroit’s financial crisis, ensuring that the public trust is upheld and the museum’s assets—building and art collection—are protected.”

The Arts Commission, whose members are appointed by the City, is responsible for overseeing the operating agreement between the City and the DIA, Inc. Current members are: A. Alfred Taubman, chair; Joseph L. Hudson, Jr., vice chair; Dennis W. Archer; Sheila Cockrel; Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III; and David Baker Lewis. All members were in attendance with the exception of Ms. Cockrel. Also in attendance were ex officio members Richard M. Manoogian and Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr. The vote in favor of the resolution was unanimous.

The resolution refers to the words carved into the façade at the Woodward Avenue entrance: “Dedicated by the People of Detroit to the Knowledge and Enjoyment of Art” and further states that members of the public have contributed property, funds, family treasures, time and goodwill with the understanding that their contributions are held in trust for the benefit of the public.

The full text of the resolution is below:

RESOLUTION OF THE ARTS COMMISSION

October 16, 2013

      WHEREAS, the Arts Department of the City of Detroit, comprising seven appointed arts commissioners (the “Arts Commission”), is responsible for overseeing the Operating Agreement between the City of Detroit and the Detroit Institute of Arts, Inc.

      WHEREAS, the City of Detroit has acquired legal title to certain museum assets, including artwork, and held those assets as trustee for the benefit of the people of the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan (the “Public”).

      WHEREAS, the City of Detroit has placed those museum assets in the museum building, which is dedicated to the “knowledge and enjoyment of art,” and publically declared that such museum assets are held in trust.

      WHEREAS, members of the Public have contributed property, funds, family treasures, time, and goodwill to the museum since its inception in reliance on the understanding that the museum art collection, museum building, and other assets are held in trust for the benefit of the Public.

      WHEREAS, the Attorney General of the State of Michigan issued Formal Opinion No. 7272, dated June 13, 2013, which confirmed that “the art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts is held by the City of Detroit in charitable trust for the people of Michigan.”

      WHEREAS, the Arts Commission, acting in its capacity as the Arts Department, desires to confirm its historical and present understanding that the assets of the museum are held in charitable trust for the benefit of the Public.

      NOW THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED, that the Arts Commission of the City of Detroit affirms the Attorney General’s opinion that the museum building and art collection are held in charitable trust and advises that the museum’s leadership, with the support of the Commission, continues to pursue all avenues for successful resolution of the issues related to the City of Detroit’s financial crisis, ensuring that the public trust is upheld and the museum’s assets—building and art collection—are protected.

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The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.