Put Your Money Where The Art Is, Detroit Foundation Suggests

December 07, 2013, 6:34 AM by  Alan Stamm

It's almost like a Kickstarter for a museum getting kicked, an Indiegogo to keep DIA treasures from going.

A local foundation set up an online page for donations "to acquire the art work and other properties of the Detroit Institute of Arts." Even if you're not a millionaire like A. Paul Schaap, you now can join the philanthropist pledging $5 million to keep Detroit artwork off the auction block.

John Gallagher, whose paper broke the news of Schaap's move, follows up with responses from readers and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

Since news of the pledge ran in the Free Press on Friday, concerned individuals have contacted the newspaper asking how to contribute.

The foundation's new public fund is one of two developments that "demonstrate a groundswell of support for using private money to broker an out-of-court arrangement to save art and pension benefits from creditor claims in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy," Gallagher reports. Here's the other: 

The DIA has joined federally mediated talks — which include leaders from at least 10 national and local charitable foundations — to create a $500-million fund that could be leveraged for the same dual purpose of shielding the DIA’s renowned collection and lessening pension cuts.

The museum’s direct involvement in the talks signals the parties are moving closer toward an agreement brokered by U.S. Chief District Judge Gerald Rosen, the mediator in the bankruptcy case.

Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation, tells the reporter she created the museum fund for public gifts because of Schaap’s pledge.

Her organization's quickly arranged donation portal has a nine-word name that reflects a far-reaching goal. It's called the Fund to Support Detroit's Retirees, Cultural Heritage, and Revitalization.

Tax-deductible gifts of under $10,000 can be made by credit card here or by a check mailed to CFSEM, 333 W. Fort St., Suite 2010, Detroit, MI 48226-3134.

As for the separate discussions to create a $500-million fund, the Free Press quotes DIA Chief Operating Officer Annmarie Erickson as saying: "We feel optimistic about the direction in which things are moving.” 

Related coverage in Deadline Detroit:

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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