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DETROIT, MICHIGAN–In May, the art world was horrified when rumour spread that Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevin Orr, was investigating whether some valuable pieces in the multibillion dollar collection of the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA) – which include iconic works by van Gogh, Picasso and Whistler – could be sold off to cover the city’s $15 billion debt to creditors. Luckily, however, in mid-June, the Michigan attorney general announced that no pieces in collection could be, ‘sold, conveyed or transferred to satisfy City debts or obligations’, which, says Graham W.J. Beal, the British director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), came as a ‘fantastic relief.’ Unlike most major civic museums in the US, the city of Detroit has, since 1919, owned the building and the collection, while exhibitions, fundraising and daily operations are overseen by the Founders’ Society, a nonprofit institution. ‘Now, we can go back to being the forward thinking, innovative art museum that we are known for,’ said Mr. Beal, sitting under one of the DIA’s large murals painted by Diego Rivera, which depict industry in Detroit in the 1930s, pharmaceuticals, birth and the manufacture of poison gas in World War One. Read more