If you want to know why art matters, look at Detroit. Art has become the centerpiece of the plan for Detroit to emerge from municipal bankruptcy. The visionary plan began to take shape last fall with three goals: protect the city’s retirees from disastrous cuts in their pensions; avoid years of contentious litigation that would hamstring efforts to rebuild Detroit; and avoid selling the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to pay the city’s debts.
Dubbed the Grand Bargain, indeed it is. Everyone has to contribute in one way or another, and everyone gives up something to make it work. A group of more than 13 foundations, national and local, have pledged $366 million over the next 20 years to support the pension fund. The State legislature approved $195 million in current dollars for this special fund (equivalent to $350 million over 20 years). The DIA’s board voted unanimously to raise $100 million, not for the DIA, but for the pension fund, and as of mid-July, have achieved pledges for 80% of that goal. Read the rest of this entry »