The Lack of Hoof Beats–UPDATE

Screen shot 2013-12-05 at 6.27.14 PM

The Daily Beast is reporting that the city council of bankrupt Detroit is planning on giving 45 million dollars to billionaire (2.7 billion net worth) Michael Ilitch so he can build his Detroit Red Wings a new super duper stadium.  Never mind that the city is flat broke, Mr. Ilitch must have a new stadium for his team and can’t be bothered to actually pay for it himself with his own money or from the profits of the team.  Where does this picture leave the pictures at the Detroit Institute of Arts?

Sadly, it’s clear how the city has fallen so far down.  When a priceless collection of art may have to be sold to pay the bills the city council doesn’t care to pay while these same council members take what little money the city has left to give to a billionaire for a sports team that can easily pay for itself, just defies comprehension.

Meanwhile, Sean Higgins of the Washington Examiner is reporting that Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers has spoken out to oppose the sale of the art.  Weingarten says the art collection will be a boon to the city once is recovers.  One wonders how the city can recover with its current city council?  Hopefully, more people will follow Weingarten’s lead and speak out in support of this wonderful collection before it’s too late.

It seems the hoped for sound of the hoof beats of a mighty steed galloping to rescue the art collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts may eventually be heard.  However, they won’t actually be coming to save the art. They will be trampling it on the way to see the hockey game in its fancy new digs.

Original story here.

A Lack of Hoof Beats

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 8.44.13 PM

“Politicians don’t bring people together. Artists do.” Richard Daley, Former Mayor of Chicago (from PerformingArtsConvention.org)

When news of the financial demise of the city of Detroit began leaking out, the fate of the magnificent collection of the Detroit Institute of Art came into question. Many were hoping for a knight in shining armor atop a mighty steed to come galloping to the rescue to save this wonderful collection. When there is no money left for basic services, there is definitely no money for art.

The New York Times reports that the court has approved the official bankruptcy proceedings but so far nothing specifically was ruled on the fate of the D.I.A.’s art. Randy Kennedy, reporting for the Times, discusses the response by Judge Steven Rhodes. “A one time infusion of cash by selling an asset,” he (Rhodes) said, would have only delayed, “the inevitable financial failure” unless it could also have come up with a sustainable way to enhance income and reduce expenses, reports Kennedy. In other words, any money from the sale of the art will only throw more feed in the trough to quickly be gobbled up like everything else in the city’s coffers. Somehow, someone will have to say enough is enough and hold those accountable who created this mess. Until that happens, any infusion of cash by the sale of the art will just be flushed away with the rest of the city’s assets.

Sadly, this wonderful collection could be broken up and sold to collectors all over the world. Should that be the final outcome, hopefully, the sale can be justified and utilized in a beneficial manner and not treated as more slop for the trough. The collection is estimated, so far, to be worth between one and two billion dollars. If the collection is broken up and sold off, most if not all may disappear forever into private collections never to be seen by the public again.

The politicians have created the mess in Detroit. Possibly, art could save Detroit. There is still time for a knight in shining armor to come riding to the rescue of the Detroit Institute of Art, but so far no hoofbeats have been heard. At this point, it doesn’t seem likely that any will be. It may be too late for the art or the city to be saved.

*Photograph shown is from The New York Times and taken by Joshua Lott for Reuters