Urban/suburban cooperation aids Detroit Institute of Arts

On Tuesday, August 10, three counties in southeastern Michigan, one which contains Detroit, and the other two suburban voted for a property tax, called a millage tax, to keep the Detroit Institute of Arts in business. ?Hardly a fluke, this was the culmination of a long-term strategy to renovate the museum and changes its attitude begun in 1999 by the museum’s director, Graham Beal. ?He wanted the museum to be more welcoming to a public who would in return repay the love. ?It worked. ?The vote on Tuesday, according to the Detroit Free Press, will “funnel $23 million annually into DIA operations for the next 10 years” at a cost of “about $20 a year on a home with a market value of $200,000.” ?In return, the museum offers free admission to all residents of the counties that voted for the tax and will also increase its operating hours to accommodate more programming. ?The DIA joins the Minnesota Institute of Arts and the St. Louis Art Museum who are also supported by property taxes. ?This regional cooperation to keep major cultural institutions alive may not be the wave of the future, but it is a model of what can be done when all the stakeholders decide to work together. ?In what must have been a joyous scene, the “morning after” was celebrated by staffers lining up at the museum entrance to welcome the first visitors of the day.





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