DIA's masterpieces shouldn't be sold, some say - KMSP-TV

DIA's masterpieces shouldn't be sold, some say

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Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit Institute of Arts
DETROIT (WJBK) -

It boasts one of the largest and most significant art collections in the nation, but there is growing fear the treasures inside the Detroit Institute of Arts could be targeted by creditors if the city declares bankruptcy.

More than 500,000 people have visited the DIA this fiscal year alone. 700 students walk the hallways every day getting up close and personal with masterpieces from centuries ago.

Those kids probably aren't wondering how much the art is worth, but the city's emergency manager says creditors are already asking. Masterpieces like "The Wedding Dance" and "The Dreams of Men" could be valued at $100 million each.

Gov. Rick Snyder said Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy Conference that Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has to consider the monetary value of Detroit's art, but many fear that could bring the city's jewels one step closer to the auction block.

"Selling the artwork is not the way to go. You cannot replace what they got years ago. Once it's gone, it's not coming back," says teacher Aaron Seifferlein.

"I'm not okay with them selling any of the precious things that are here in the city," says Pastor W.J. Rideout III of the All God's People Church.

"I'm okay with the EM considering how to collect tax revenue, both property taxes and business taxes. I'm with the EM asking the State of Michigan to give Detroit it's $224 million. I'm in favor of the EM going to the banks and telling the banks they need to take a loss," says Rev. D. Alexander Bullock with the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

The DIA has hired a bankruptcy attorney, and both Orr and Snyder say they do not want to sell the art. Furthermore, Orr says there are no plans to sell the art, but if Detroit goes into bankruptcy, creditors could come calling for it.

Their are also items like a very valuable van Gogh that the city can't sell because the donor won't allow it.

Meanwhile, this museum and the people who love it are hoping all the DIA's masterpieces stay in Detroit.

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