A couple looks at a painting titled "Self Portrait" by artist Vincent van Gogh displayed at the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit, Mich. on Dec. 7, 2013.
Joshua Lott/Reuters

Automakers expected to give $26M to save art


The leaders of three automakers on Monday made public their plans to contribute an aggregated $26 million contribution to protect Detroit’s art treasures.

Members of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) joined Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to release plans about the funds, which will be used to reduce benefit cuts for city pensioners and protect the art collection from being sold as part of the historic municipal bankruptcy, according to the Detroit Free Press

“This is about the DIA certainly, but it’s about Detroit, it’s about Michigan, and it’s about our pensioners. We are all beneficiaries of this wonderful effort,” Eugene Gargaro, chairman of the DIA’s Board of Members, said during the public event on Monday.

Ford and General Motors each agreed to provide $10 million and Chrysler $6 million to help the DIA raise its $100 million share of the grand bargain fund in the bankruptcy case. The DIA allegedly approached the three companies about a combined donation of $50 million.

Last July, Detroit, known as the “Motor City,” filed for what is now the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history debt. The decision followed a declaration of financial emergency four months earlier. Detroit earlier this year revealed a plan to emerge from under $18 billion in debt, setting into place the groundwork for negotiations with creditors, retirees, and bondholders.

“I think it’s pretty clear that there is no single entity that can completely fix the City of Detroit,” Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales for the Chrysler Group LLC, said at the event.

City workers and pensioners are the individuals with the most at stake.

Michigan’s Senate last week approved spending $195 million to help prevent steeper cuts in Detroit retiree pensions.

A hearing on Detroit’s debt adjustment plan is set for July 24.