Detroit Institute of Arts
|Detroit Institute of Arts|
|Location||5200 Woodward Avenue
|Director||Graham W. J. Beal|
Detroit Institute of Arts
|Architect||Paul Philippe Cret|
|Architectural style||Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance|
|Restored by||Michael Graves|
|Part of||Cultural Center Historic District (#83003791)|
|Designated CP||November 21, 1983|
The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), located in Midtown Detroit, Michigan, has one of the largest, most significant art collections in the United States. In 2003, the DIA ranked as the second largest municipally owned museum in the United States. Its art collection has been valued at $8.1 billion, according to a 2014 appraisal. With over 100 galleries, it covers 658,000 square feet (61,100 m2), making it the sixth-largest art museum in the United States; a major renovation and expansion project completed in 2007 added 58,000 square feet (5,400 m2). The museum building is highly regarded by architects. The original building, designed by Paul Philippe Cret, is flanked by north and south wings with the white marble as the main exterior material for the entire structure. It is part of the city's Cultural Center Historic District listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The museum's first painting was donated in 1883 and its collection consists of over 65,000 works. The DIA is an encyclopedic museum, whose collections span the globe from ancient Egyptian works to contemporary art. The DIA is located in Midtown Detroit's Cultural Center Historic District, about two miles (3 km) north of the downtown area, near Wayne State University. With 594,267 visitors in 2013, the DIA is the 102nd most-visited art museum in the world. The Detroit Institute of Arts hosts major art exhibitions and also contains the 1,150-seat Detroit Film Theatre (designed by theatre architect C. Howard Crane).
The museum contains 100 galleries of art from around the world. Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry cycle of frescoes span the upper and lower levels to surround the central grand marble court of the museum. The armor collection of William Randolph Hearst lines the main hall entry way to the grand court. The collection of American art at the DIA is one of the most impressive, and officials at the DIA have ranked the American paintings collection third among museums in the United States. Works by American artists began to be collected immediately following the museum's founding in 1883. Today the collection is a strong survey of American history, with acknowledged masterpieces of painting, sculpture, furniture and decorative arts from the 18th century, 19th century, and 20th century, with contemporary American art in all media also being collected. The breadth of the collection includes such American artists as John James Audubon, George Bellows, George Caleb Bingham, Alexander Calder, Mary Cassatt, Dale Chihuly, Frederic Edwin Church, Thomas Cole, John Singleton Copley, Robert Colescott, Leon Dabo, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Thomas Eakins, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Winslow Homer, George Inness, Martin Lewis, Georgia O'Keeffe, Charles Willson Peale, Rembrandt Peale, Tom Phardel, Duncan Phyfe, Hiram Powers, Sharon Que, Frederic Remington, Paul Revere, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, John French Sloan, Tony Smith, Marylyn Dintenfass, Gilbert Stuart, Yves Tanguy, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Andy Warhol, William T. Williams, Anne Wilson, Andrew Wyeth, and James McNeill Whistler.
The early 20th century was a period of prolific collecting for the museum, which acquired such works as a dragon tile relief from the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, an Egyptian relief of Mourning Women and a statuette of a Seated Scribe, Pieter Bruegel the Elder's The Wedding Dance, Saint Jerome in His Study by Jan van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini's Madonna and Child. Early purchases included French paintings by Claude Monet, Odilon Redon, Eugène Boudin, and Edgar Degas, as well as Old Masters including Gerard ter Borch, Peter Paul Rubens, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn. The museum includes works by Vincent van Gogh including a self-portrait. The self-portrait of Vincent van Gogh and The Window by Henri Matisse were purchased in 1922 and were the first paintings by these two artists to enter an American public collection. Later important acquisitions include Hans Holbein the Younger's Portrait of a Woman, James Abbott McNeill Whistler's Nocturne in Black and Gold: The Falling Rocket, and works by Paul Cézanne, Eugène Delacroix, Auguste Rodin, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux and François Rude. German Expressionism was embraced and collected early on by the DIA, with works by Heinrich Campendonk, Franz Marc, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Max Beckmann, Karl Hofer, Emil Nolde, Lovis Corinth, Ernst Barlach, Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Erich Heckel, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paula Modersohn-Becker, and Max Pechstein in the collection. Non-German artists in the Expressionist movement include Oskar Kokoschka, Wassily Kandinsky, Chaim Soutine and Edvard Munch. The Nut Gatherers by William-Adolphe Bouguereau is, by some accounts, the most popular painting in the collection.
In addition to the American and European works listed above, the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts are generally encyclopedic and extensive, including ancient Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian material, as well as a wide range of Islamic, African and Asian art of all media.
In December 2010, the museum debuted a new permanent gallery with special collections of hand, shadow, and string puppets along with programmable lighting and original backgrounds. The museum plans to feature puppet related events and rotation of exhibits drawn from its puppet collections.
Artists’ Take on Detroit: Projects for the Tricentennial (October 19, 2001 – December 28, 2001) This exhibit celebrates Detroit’s 300th year anniversary by creating 10 projects that represent the city. The installations created by 15 artists include video and still photography, text and sound, and sculptures. This exhibit includes the following: Altar Mary by Petah Coyne, Strange Früt: Rock Apocrypha by Destroy All Monsters Collective, Traces of Then and Now by Lorella Di Cintio and Jonsara Ruth, Fast Forward, Play Back by Ronit Eisenbach and Peter Sparling, Riches of Detroit: Faces of Detroit by Deborah Grotfeldt and Tricia Ward, Open House by Tyree Guyton, A Persistence of Memory by Michael Hall, Relics by Scott Hocking and Clinton Snider, Blackout by Mike Kelley, Voyageurs by Joseph Wesner 
Art in Focus: Celadons (January 16-April 14) Green-glazed ceramics, also known as celadon ware, created by Suzuki Sansei are on display in each of the Asian galleries. 
Over the Line: The Art and Life of Jacob Lawrence (February 24, 2002 – May 19, 2002) The exhibit contains work of the African American artist Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000), and includes never before seen pieces from the Migration and the John Brown series.  
Degas and the Dance (October 20, 2002 - January 12, 2003) This exhibit includes more than 100 pieces of work created by Edgar Degas. These pieces include model stage sets, costume designs, and photographs of the dancers from the 19th-century Parisian ballet. 
Magnificenza! The Medici, Michelangelo and The Art of Late Renaissance Florence (March 16, 2003- June 8, 2003) The exhibit displays art of the cultural successes of the first four Medici grand dukes of Tuscany during 1537-1631, along with their connection with Michelangelo and his art in the Late Renaissance Florence. 
When Tradition Changed: Modernist Masterpieces at the DIA (June, 2003- August, 2003) This exhibit only contains pieces from the DIA’s collection from the late 19th-century and early 20th-century and displays the different choices artists expressed themselves after 1900. 
Then and Now: A selection of 19th- and 20th-Century Art by African American Artists (July, 2003-August, 2003) Roughly 40 objects in this exhibit, organized by the General Motors Center for African American Art, display the artistic styles of African American artists during the past two hundred years. This exhibit includes work from Joshua Johnson, Robert Scott Duncanson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Augusta Savage, Benny Andrews, Betye Saar, Richard Hunt, Sam Gilliam, and Lorna Simpson. Allie McGhee, Naomi Dickerson, Lester Johnson, Shirley Woodson, and Charles McGee are some of the Detroit artists that were included in the installation. 
Art in Focus: Buddhist Sculpture (Through July 14, 2003) This exhibit contains one Buddhist sculpture in each of the Asian galleries. These sculptures symbolize enlightenment, selflessness, wisdom and tranquility. 
Yoko Ono’s Freight Train (September 17, 2003- July 19, 2005) Freight Train, constructed by Yoko Ono in 1999, is a German boxcar with bullet holes and is set on a section of railroad track displayed outdoors.  
Art in Focus: Mother-of-Pearl Inlaid Lacquer (Through October 13, 2003) This exhibit contains lacquer wares made from sap of lacquer trees. 
Style of the Century: Selected Works from the DIA’s Collection (Through October 27, 2003) 
Some Fluxus: From the Gilbert and Lila Silverman Fluxus Collection Foundation (Through October 28, 2008) The exhibit contains works from the Fluxus group, named by artist and provocateur George Maciunas. 
Dance of the Forest Spirits: A Set of Native American Masks at the DIA (Through October 6, 2003) Wooden masks made in the 1940s to represent the spirit world made by the Kwakwaka’wakw (Native Americans of the Northwest coast) are displayed in the exhibit, along with interactive videos, listening stations, and computer activities. 
Dawoud Bey: Detroit Portraits (April 4, 2004 – August 1, 2004) Dawoud Bey’s work created during a five-week residency at Chadsey High school includes large-format, color photographic portraits along with a video of students from Chadsey High School is displayed in this exhibit. Selected artwork of students from writing and art workshops that are conducted by Bey and the art faculty at Chadsey and conduct discussion will also be displayed. 
Pursuits and Pleasures: Baroque Paintings from the Detroit Institute of Arts (April 10, 2004 – July 4, 2004) Pieces of work by Albert Cuyp, Giovanni Paolo Panini, Jacob van Ruisdael, Mathieu le Nain, Claude Lorrain, Gerard Ter Borch, Frans Snyders, and Thomas Gainsborough are displayed in this exhibit, organized by the Kresge Art Museum, the Dennos Museum Center, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art, along with the Detroit Institute of Arts. 
The Etching Revival in Europe: Late Nineteenth- and Early- Twentieth Century French and British Prints (May 26, 2004 – September 19, 2004) Examples of etching work of James McNeill Whistler, Francis Seymour Haden, Charles Meryon, Edouard Manet, Jean François Millet, and Frank Brangwyn are displayed in this exhibit. 
The Photography of Charles Sheeler: American Modernist (September 8, 2004 – December 5, 2004) Prints from Charles Sheeler’s major series are displayed in this exhibit, including images of his house and barns in Doylestown, Pennsylvania captured in 1916 and 1917; stills from the 1920 film Manhatta; photographs of Chartres Cathedral taken in 1929; and images of American industry created in the 1930s for Fortune magazine. Also displayed are Sheeler’s views from the Ford Motor Company’s River Rouge complex commissioned by Edsel Ford in 1927. 
Murano: Glass From the Olnick Spanu Collection (December 12, 2004 – February 27, 2005) The exhibit displays about 300 Venetian blown glass pieces made in the 20th-century, organized in chronological order. 
Gerard ter Borch (February 27, 2005 – May 22, 2005) The exhibit contains paintings of the 17th-century Dutch life created by Gerard ter Borch. 
Beyond Big: Oversized Prints, Drawings and Photographs (March 16, 2005 – July 31, 2005) The exhibit displays large prints, drawings, and photographs by Abelardo Morrell, Anna Gaskell, Jenny Gage, Justin Kurland, Gregory Crewdson, Richard Diebenkorn, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenber, Judy Pfaff, Charles Burchfield, and others. 
Sixty-Eighth Annual Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibitions (April 9, 2005 – May 14, 2005) Kindergarten through 12th grade students will have their work displayed at the Detroit Public Library because of renovations at the DIA. This exhibit contains hundreds of ceramics, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and videos. 
Camille Claudel and Rodin: Fateful Encounter (October 9, 2005 – February 5, 2006) The exhibit contains work by Auguste Rodin and Camille Claude. Sixty-two sculptures by Claudel and fifty-eight by Rodin created before the two artists met along with sculptures created during the good and bad years of their relationship are displayed. Some works created by Claudel that will be displayed include Sakuntala, The Waltz, La Petite Châtelain, The Age of Maturity, The Wave, and Vertumnus and Pomona. Works of Rodin that will be displayed include Bust of Camille Claudel, Saint John the Baptist Preaching, Balzac, and The Gates of Hell. 
African American Art from the Walter O. Evans Collection (April 9, 2006 – July 2, 2006) Selected pieces in various media from Walter O. Evan’s private collection will be displayed in the exhibit. Work by African American artists during the 19th and 20th centuries including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Edmonia Lewis, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence will be displayed as well. 
Sixty-Ninth Annual Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibit (April 20, 2006 – May 14, 2006) Kindergarten through 12th grade students will have their work displayed at the Detroit Public Library because of renovations at the DIA. This exhibit contains ceramics, drawings, collages, jewelry, and more. 
Recent Acquisitions: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs (May 17, 2006 – July 31, 2006) The exhibit contains works from the 1500s through the 2000s including prints by artists such as Giorgio Ghisi, Judy Pfaff, Terry Winters, and drawings by Adolf Menzel, and Stephen Talasnik. Work by early 20th-century photographers by Edwin Hale Lincoln, Alvin Langdon Coburn, and Tina Modotti are displayed. Work by contemporary artists Larry Fink, Candida Hofer, and Kiraki Sawi are also displayed. 
The Big Three in Printmaking: Dürer, Rembrandt and Picasso (September 13, 2006 – December 31, 2006) The exhibit features work of Dürer in the early 16th century, Rembrandt in the mid-17th century, and Picasso in the 20th century made of various media including wood and linoleum cuts, engraving, etching, aquatint, drypoint and lithography. 
Annie Leibovitz: American Music (September 24, 2006 – January 7, 2007) Annie Leibovitz’s photographs of legends of roots music and younger artists influenced by them are displayed in the exhibit. Seventy portraits of hers are displayed in the exhibit, including B.B. King, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Willie Nelson, Pete Seeger, Etta James, Dolly Parton, Beck and Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Aretha Franklin, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, and The White Stripes. 
Ansel Adams (March 4, 2007 – May 27, 2007) The exhibit contains over 100 black and white photographs taken by Ansel Adams ranging from the early 1900s to the 1960s. This exhibit contains photographs of landscapes, Pueblo Indians, mountain views, along with portraits of his friends Georgia O’Keeffe, John Marin, and Edward Weston. 
Seventieth Annual Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibition (March 31, 2007- May 5, 2007) Kindergarten through 12th grade students will have their work displayed at the Detroit Public Library because of renovations at the DIA. This exhibit contains ceramics, drawings, collages, jewelry, and more. 
The Best of the Best: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs from the DIA Collection (November 23, 2007 – March 2, 2008) The DIA has chosen over 100 of the “best” prints, drawings, and photographs out of the museums 35,000 pieces of work to be displayed in the exhibit. Some pieces that will be displayed are Michelangelo’s double-sided chalk and pen and ink drawing of 1508 showing decoration schemes for the Sistine Chapel ceiling; Russet Landscape by Edgar Degas from the 1890s; and Wheels by Charles Sheeler in 1939. 
Before 1920, a commission was established to choose an architect to design a new building to house the DIA's expanding collections. The commission included DIA President Ralph H. Booth, William J. Gray, architect Albert Kahn and industrialist Edsel Ford. W.R. Valentiner, the museum director acted as art director and Clyde H. Burroughs was the secretary. The group chose Philadelphia architect Paul Philippe Cret as the lead architect and the firm of Zantzinger, Borie and Medary as associated architects, with Detroit architectural firms of Albert Kahn and C. Howard Crane contributing "advice and suggestions."
The south and north wings were added in 1966 and 1971 respectively. Both were designed by Gunnar Birkerts and were originally faced in black granite to serve as a backdrop for the original white marble building. The south wing was later named in honor of museum benefactors Edsel and Eleanor Ford and the north wing for Jerome Cavanaugh who was Detroit Mayor during the expansion. The museum is directly across Woodward Avenue from the Detroit Public Library, also constructed of white marble in the Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance style.
Edsel Ford commissioned murals by Diego Rivera for DIA in 1932. Composed in fresco style, the five sets of massive murals are known collectively as Detroit Industry, or Man and Machine. The murals were added to what had been a courtyard; it was roofed over when the work was executed. Widely held to be great works of art today, this was not necessarily the case when they were completed. Architect Henry Sheply, a close friend of Cret's would write: "These [murals] are harsh in color, scale and composition. They were designed without the slightest thought given to the delicate architecture and ornament. They are quite simply a travesty in the name of art." Their politically charged themes of proletariat struggle caused lasting friction between admirers and detractors. During the McCarthy era, the murals survived only by means of a prominent sign which identified them as legitimate art; the sign further asserted unambiguously that the political motivations of the artist were "detestable". Today the murals are celebrated as one of the DIA's finest assets, and even "one of America's most significant monuments".
Renovation and expansion
In November 2007, the Detroit Institute of Arts building completed a renovation and expansion at a total cost of $158 million. Architects for the renovation included Michael Graves and associates along with the SmithGroup. The project, labeled the Master Plan Project, included expansion and renovation of the north and south wings as well as restoration of the original Paul Cret building, and added 58,000 additional square feet, bringing the total to 658,000 square feet. The renovated exterior of the north and south wings is covered with white marble acquired from the same quarry as the marble on the main building designed by Paul Cret. The major renovation of the Detroit Institute of Arts has provided a significant example of study for museum planning, function, direction, and design.
The Museum had its genesis in an 1881 tour of Europe made by local newspaper magnate James E. Scripps. Scripps kept a journal of his family's five-month tour of art and culture in Italy, France, Germany, and the Netherlands, portions of which were published in his newspaper The Detroit News. The series proved so popular that it was republished in book form called Five Months Abroad. The popularity inspired William H. Brearley, the manager of the newspaper's advertising department to organize an art exhibit in 1883, which was also extremely well received.
Brearly convinced many leading Detroit citizens to contribute to establish a permanent museum. It was originally named the Detroit Museum of Art. Among the donors were James E. Scripps, his brother George H. Scripps, Dexter M. Ferry, Christian H. Buhl, Gen. Russell A. Alger, Moses W. Field, James McMillan and Hugh McMillan, George H. Hammond, James F. Joy, Francis Palms, Christopher R. Mabley, Simon J. Murphy, John S. Newberry, Cyrenius A. Newcomb, Sr., Thomas W. Palmer, Philo Parsons, George B. Remick, Allan Shelden, David Whitney Jr., George V. N. Lothrop, and Hiram Walker.
With much success from their first exhibit, Brearley then challenged 40 of Detroit’s leading and prominent businessmen to contribute $1,000 each to help fund the building of a permanent museum. With $50,000 coming from Scripps alone, their goal was within reach. By 1888, Scripps and Brearley had incorporated Detroit Museum of Arts, filling it with over 70 pieces of artwork acquired by Scripps during his time in Europe.
Lasting as a museum less than 40 years, the impact the museum had on the city of Detroit was tremendous. The Art Loan Exhibition’s success in 1883 had led to the creation of a board. The purpose of the board was to raise and establish funds to build a permanent art museum in the city. Donating money to the cause were some of Detroit’s biggest names, including James E. Scripps and George H. Scripps, Russell A. Alger, and Sen. Thomas Palmer. Changing its name to the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1919, the formed committee began raising funds with Scripps still at the helm to fund a new and permanent location; thus, opening its doors on October 7, 1927. While not officially being declared the founder of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Scripps and Brearley were indeed the founders of the DIA’s predecessor, The Detroit Museum of Arts. With the success of the arts, and the auto industry booming, families were flocking to the city; pushing for the need to expand the vision that Scripps had originally dreamed, a new building was raised and the DIA was reborn.
Later support for the museum came from Detroit philanthropists such as Charles Lang Freer, and the auto barons: art and funds were donated by the Dodges, the Firestones and the Fords, especially Edsel Ford and his wife Eleanor, and subsequently their children. Robert Hudson Tannahill of the Hudson's Department Store family, was a major benefactor and supporter of the museum, donating many works during his lifetime. At his death in 1970, he bequeathed a large European art collection, which included works by Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Edgar Degas, Georges Seurat, Henri Rousseau, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brâncuși, important works of German Expressionism, a large collection of African art, and an endowment for future acquisitions for the museum. Part of the current support for the museum comes from the state government in exchange for which the museum conducts state-wide programs on art appreciation and provides art conservation services to other museums in Michigan.
In 1922, Horace Rackham donated a casting of Auguste Rodin's sculpture, The Thinker, acquired from a German collection, to the museum where it was exhibited while the new building was under construction. The work was placed in the Great Hall of the new museum building. Sometime in the subsequent years the work was moved out of the building and placed on a pedestal in front of the building, facing Woodward Avenue and the Detroit Public Library across the street.
In 1949, the museum was among the first to return a work that had been looted by the Nazis, when it returned Claude Monet's The Seine at Asnières to its rightful owner. The art dealer from whom they had purchased it reimbursed the museum. In 2002, the museum discovered that Ludolf Backhuysen's A Man-O-War and Other Ships off the Dutch Coast, a 17th-century seascape painting under consideration for purchase by the museum, had been looted from a private European collection by the Nazis. The museum contacted the original owners, paid the rightful restitution, and the family allowed the museum to accession the painting into its collection, adding another painting to the museum's already prominent Dutch collection.
In 1970, Anna Thompson Dodge bequeathed the 18th-century French contents of the music room from her home, Rose Terrace, to the museum upon her death.
A 1976 gift of $1 million from Eleanor Ford created the Department of African, Oceanic and New World Cultures.
February 24, 2006, a 12-year-old boy stuck a piece of chewing gum on Helen Frankenthaler's 1963 abstract work The Bay, leaving a small stain. The painting was valued at $1.5 million in 2005, and is one of Frankenthaler's most important works. The museum's conservation lab successfully cleaned and restored the painting, which was put returned to the gallery in late June 2006.
Selections from the permanent collection
Madonna and Child, c. 1460
Master of the Tiburtine Sibyl,
Master of Frankfurt, The Virgin Enthroned, oil on oak panel, 28 1/2 x 23 1/8 in. (72.4 x 58.7 cm)
Lucas Cranach the Elder,
Saint Christopher, 1518–20
Portrait of a Nobleman, 1623
Rembrandt van Rijn,
The Visitation, 1640
Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael,
The Jewish Cemetery, 1657
Violinist and Young Woman, 1870–72
Portrait of the Artist with the Idol, 1893
Femme assise (Melancholy Woman), 1902–03
Max Pechstein, 1911, Under the Trees (Akte im Freien), oil on canvas, 73.6 x 99 cm (29 x 39 in)
The current director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Graham W. J. Beal, was born in Stratford-on-Avon, Great Britain. He carries degrees in English and Art History from the University of Manchester and Courtauld Institute of Art. He received his position in 1999. He came to this position with prior experience, having been director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1996-1999), Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha, Nebraska (1989-1996), and served as the chief curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1984-1989). During his life Beal has published many exhibition catalogs, books, and articles, also serving on many art panels; Beal was a member of the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibition for four years (1991-1995), continuing to serve on various committees and boards during his time with the DIA. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Association of Art Museum Directors, as well as the Chair of its Art Issues Committee (2002-2005). For three years he served on the Board of Trustees of the American Association of Museums (2004-2007). He has announced his plans to retire June 30 of 2015.
Besides holding major art exhibitions inside the museum's 1,150-seat theatre and annual formal entertainment fundraising galas such as Les Carnavel des ArtStars in November, other Detroit Institute of Arts coordinated events include the annual "Fash Bash," a leading corporate sponsored fashion event, featuring celebrities and models that showcase the latest fashion trends, typically held in the Renaissance Center's Winter Garden, the Fox Theatre, or at the Detroit Institute of Arts theatre in August to celebrate Detroit Fashion Week.
In 2013, the Detroit Institute of Arts' total attendance was 594,000, a notable increase since 2011 when 429,000 people went. As of 2012, 79 percent of the institute’s annual visitors lived in one of the three surrounding counties Wayne (which includes Detroit), Macomb, and Oakland.
One of the largest, most significant art museums in the United States, the Detroit Institute of Arts relies on private donations for much of its financial support. The museum has sought to increase its endowment balance to provide it financial independence. The city of Detroit owns the museum building and collection, but withdrew the city's financial support. The museum's endowment totaled $200 million in 1999 and $230 million in 2001. The museum completed a major renovation and expansion in 2007. By 2008, the museum's endowment reached $350 million; however, a recession, reduced contributions, and unforeseen costs reduced the endowment balance to critical levels.
In 2012, the endowment totaled $89.3 million and provided an annual return of about $3.4 million in investment income; while admissions, the museums cafe restaurant, and merchandise and book sales from the museum's gift shop generated about $3.5 million a year, or just 15 percent of the annual budget. The museum raised $60 million from 2008 to 2012, reduced staffing, and reduced its annual operating budget from $34 million in 2008 to 25.4 million in 2012. In 2012, voters in three of the major metropolitan counties approved a property tax levy or millage for a duration of 10 years, expected to raise $23 million per year, saving the museum from cuts. In August 2012, the museum website expressed appreciation to the voters for their support. The Museum offers Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County residents free general admission for the 10 year duration of the millage approved in 2012. In 2012, the museum established an updated long term fund raising goal of $400 million to restore its endowment while the millage is in effect.
After Detroit's bankruptcy filing July 18, 2013, creditors targeted the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts as a potential source of revenue. State-appointed emergency manager Kevin Orr hired Christie's Auction House to appraise the collection. After months of determining the fair market value of art purchased with city funds, Christie's released a report December 19, 2013, saying that the collection of nearly 2,800 pieces of city-owned artwork, was worth $454 million to $867 million, with one masterpiece by Van Gogh worth up to $150 million.
To prevent possible sale of the works, museum proponents developed what has been named the grand bargain. Under the plan, the museum will raise $100 million, nine private foundations pledge $330 million, and the state of Michigan will contribute $350 million for a total of $820 million that will guarantee municipal workers' pensions. In return, the city of Detroit will give the collection and the building to the non-profit entity that already operates the museum. This plan was challenged by other creditors, who claimed that it treated them unfairly and requested to conduct their own appraisal of the museum collection. Some creditors came forward with offers from other parties to buy the artworks for sums higher than Christie's appraisal. Meanwhile, May 13, 2014, Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr asked Detroit automakers to add $195 million to make the grand bargain stronger.
The discovery in 2014 that DIA President Graham W. J. Beal and Executive Vice President Anne Erickson received significant raises in 2014 and $50,000 bonuses in 2013 caused a lot of anger among Wayne, Macomb and Oakland County taxpayers, and Oakland County Commissioners threatened to stop Oakland County's participation in the DIA millage. During a meeting October 23, 2014, the Oakland County Commissioners warned DIA board chair Gene Gargaro that they have drafted a resolution to dissolve the Oakland County Art Authority which collects the Oakland County millage and passes it to the DIA. The commissioners are expected to attend a DIA board meeting in November. There are three or four online petitions circulating demanding that Beal and Erickson step down from their posts and return their bonuses.
The DIA board notified suburban authorities November 4, 2014, that it reimbursed the museum $90,000 for bonuses awarded to three top executives in 2013.
The eventual bankruptcy settlement did not require the DIA to sell any art.
|Detroit Institute of Arts financials|
|Projections based on achieving $35 million in annual fundraising|
|$ Fundraising Cumulative est.||35,000,000||350,000,000||385,000,000||630,000,000||910,000,000|
|$ Endowment Balance est.||89,000,000||468,600,000||516,500,000||718,900,000||982,200,000|
|$ Investment Income†||3,400,000||17,800,000||19,600,000||27,300,000||37,300,000|
|$ Operating Revenue||28,400,000||43,100,000||23,100,000||31,300,000||41,400,000|
|$ Annual Expenditures†||25,400,000||30,200,000||30,800,000||35,400,000||40,900,000|
|† - Annual sales estimates reflect free admission for Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb county residents for millage years. Expenditures rise about 1.9% annually for inflation. Investments yield about 3.8% annually.|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Detroit Institute of Arts.|
- Detroit Institute of Arts — Official website
- Video review of the museum with on-site footage
- Midtown Detroit
- James E. Scripps and Detroit's art museum
- Article: The DIA Does the Right Thing
- Article: DIA in peril: A look at the museum's long, tangled relationship with Detroit politics and finances by Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press, 08 Sep 2013
- Article:The defense of culture and the crisis in Detroit by David Walsh, World Socialist Web Site, 17 September 2013
- Video: The fight to defend the Detroit Institute of Arts, World Socialist Web Site, 23 September 2013