Mellon, Getty Trust pledge $13 million for Detroit art museum

A view of a gallery at the Detroit Institute of Arts Museum, which faces a possible sale of some its collection as the city deals with bankruptcy.
(Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

On the heels of a combined $26-million donation from the big three U.S. automakers to help the troubled Detroit Institute of Arts, two charitable organizations said Wednesday they are pledging a total of $13 million toward the museum.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is pledging $10 million, and the J. Paul Getty Trust is pledging $3 million. The money will go toward the DIA’s goal to raise $100 million toward the “grand bargain,” a citywide effort to raise more than $800 million to ease pension cuts and prevent museum art from being sold.

Under terms of the grand bargain, the city of Detroit will transfer ownership of the DIA’s art collection to the nonprofit organization that operates the museum.

Museum leaders around the country have voiced concern in recent months over the fate of DIA’s collection after some Detroit leaders suggested that artwork be sold to help alleviate the city’s financial burdens. The city declared bankruptcy in 2013.

Last month, the city’s creditors put in motion an effort to appraise the museum’s collection, about 66,000 pieces of art.


James Cuno, president and chief executive of the Getty Trust, said in a prepared statement Wednesday that the Getty is “proud to participate with other distinguished supporters in addressing the unique situation that is currently facing the DIA, through no fault of its own.”

On Monday, automakers Ford, General Motors and Chrysler announced that they are donating a total of $26 million toward the museum’s goal. Chrysler is donating $6 million, while Ford and GM are donating $10 million each.

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