Car Makers, Foundations Pledge $26M to Save Detroit Institute Collection


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is $26 million closer to having its treasures protected from being sold off as part of the city’s bankruptcy proceedings, thanks to Detroit’s car companies and their foundations.

Chrysler Group LLC, the Ford Motor Company Fund, General Motors and the General Motors Foundation have pledged $26 million toward the $100 million the museum has committed to raise as part of a “grand bargain.” That agreement would shield the museum’s holdings, including examples by Bruegel, van Gogh and Cézanne, from seizure by the city’s creditors as part of municipal bankruptcy proceedings.

The Ford Motor Company Fund will give $10 million, the Chrysler Group $6 million, GM $5 million and the General Motors Foundation $5 million.

Christie’s appraised 2,800 of the museum’s artworks, purchased with city funding, at between $454 million and $867 million. Emergency manager Kevyn Orr has said that all options for paying down the city’s $18 billion shortfall must be on the table.

The grand bargain would provide Detroit’s pensioners with $800 million from local donors, local and national foundations and the state over a 20-year period, according to a statement from the museum. As part of the bargain, the city of Detroit would transfer ownership of the DIA’s collection, building and related assets to the private nonprofit that currently operates the museum.