DETROIT SOLUTION: SHOULD BANKRUPT DETROIT SELL OFF ITS $2.5 BILLION 60,000-PIECE ART COLLECTION TO PAY ITS CREDITORS?

Plagued by some of the highest crime and unemployment rates in the country, the once-thriving Motor City has become a shadow of itself. Hundreds of thousands of residents have fled to the suburbs. Entire blocks are blighted by abandoned streets.

Should bankrupt Detroit sell off its world-famous $2.5BILLION art collection to pay its creditors?

By Daily Mail Reporter PUBLISHED: 22 July 2013

The world-famous 60,000-piece collection includes works by Rembrandt, Cézanne, Degas, van Gogh and Gauguin – as well as the original Howdy Doody TV show puppet.

Collectors estimate that the entire collections could be worth up to $2.5billion – a sizable payment toward the city’s $18billion long-term debt.

 
Doomed? The Detroit Institute of Arts and its $2.5billion collection has moved into the cross hairs after the city declared bankruptcyDoomed? The Detroit Institute of Arts and its $2.5billion collection has moved into the cross hairs after the city declared bankruptcy

 

 
Some are beginning to question whether the city can afford an estimated $2.5billion art collection when it faces dire financial straights from its $18billion bankruptcySome are beginning to question whether the city can afford an estimated $2.5billion art collection when it faces dire financial straights from its $18billion bankruptcy

 

 
Two of the museum's most prized possessions include 'Self Portrait' and 'Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin' by Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van GoghTwo of the museum’s most prized possessions include ‘Self Portrait’ and ‘Portrait of the Postman Joseph Roulin’ by Dutch impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh

 

Unlike most other major art museums, which are owned by trusts and operated separately from the cities where they reside, the Detroit Institute of Arts is a city-owned facility.

A spokesman for Kevyn Orr, the state-appointed emergency manager of the troubled city, said the art museum collection could be come a bargaining chip in negotiations with creditors.

‘We haven’t proposed selling any asset. But we haven’t taken any asset off the table. We can’t. We cannot negotiate in good faith with our creditors by taking assets off the table,’ spokesman Bill Nowling told the New York Times.

 ‘And all of our creditors have asked about the worth of the DIA. And we’ve told them that they’re welcome to find out.’

The art collection, housed in a grand Beaux-Arts museum built in 1927, has been one of the cultural bright points in the beleaguered city.

 
One of the one-of-a-kind pieces housed at the DIA is the first ever doll used on the Howdy Doody TV showOne of the one-of-a-kind pieces housed at the DIA is the first ever doll used on the Howdy Doody TV show

 

 
Bright spot: More than 600,000 people visited the museum last year. Seen here is 'The Wedding Dance' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder Bright spot: More than 600,000 people visited the museum last year. Seen here is ‘The Wedding Dance’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

 

 
A famed Diego Rivera mural is another of the nearly priceless works of art at the DIAA famed Diego Rivera mural is another of the nearly priceless works of art at the DIA

 

Plagued by some of the highest crime and unemployment rates in the country, the once-thriving Motor City has become a shadow of itself. Hundreds of thousands of residents have fled to the suburbs. Entire blocks are blighted by abandoned streets.

But, the Detroit Institute of Arts continues to draw people downtown. The museum had some 600,000 visitors last year. Three neighboring counties – home to Detroit’s wealthy suburbs – agreed to raise a tax to support the museum.

Any attempts to liquidate the museum’s collection could face resistance from arts patrons, who still donate tens of millions of dollars a year to the DIA.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette weighed in last month and attempted to bar any future creditors from seeking the sale of the city’s works of art.

He wrote a legal opinion arguing that the collection is ‘held by a charitable trust for the people of Michigan’ and that the city doesn’t actually own the art – so the city can’t sell the art.

Patrons are also upset. They say the city would be irreversibly losing a part of itself.

‘We’re talking about selling history,’ patron Rod Spencer told CBS News.

‘How can you sell family history?’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2373140/Should-bankrupt-Detroit-sell-world-famous-2-5BILLION-art-collection-pay-creditors.html#ixzz2ZlB9Lb00
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