A brief story in the Detroit News acknowledging the return of appraisers from Christie’s to value artwork purchased by the City of Detroit for the Emergency Manager contains an unambiguous quote from nearby Macomb County’s leadership that makes clear what’s at stake. The debate is not, as so many have tried to make it out to be, about whether art is important to Detroit’s civic culture or its future.
The question is simply who pays for the art and whether the surrounding counties want to have access to Detroit’s art without having to help pay for it. Macomb County’s executive. Mark A. Hackel, went out of his way to reassure his constituents that the additional taxes residents were paying to fund DIA’s operating costs would cease if any of the art the City had bought is sold.
“The intent of Macomb County voters was to support the Detroit Institute of Arts and its assets,” said Macomb assistant county executive Melissa Roy, “not to contribute to the financial solvency of Detroit.”
The cancellation clause was written into the language of the contract between the Macomb County Arts Authority and the DIA after the millage passed. The authority is the liaison between the museum and the county.
After the Oakland County Art Institute Authority unanimously passed a resolution Aug. 20 that would invalidate their millage if any art is sold, Hackel wanted to assure Macomb residents that safeguards were already in place, Roy said.
Christie’s returns to Detroit to plan appraisal of DIA art (Detroit News)