Museums in Michigan: Economic distress

The currently distressed state of our nation has now directly hit the museums of Michigan. The Detroit Institute of Arts on Monday announced that they are cutting 56 museum positions, which amounts to 20% of its current staff. (As if museum positions in Michigan weren’t already few and far between.) But to be honest with the state of Michigan in these economic times, I’m not surprised that they didn’t have to shut the whole museum down. As the whole country seems to now know, “The Big 3”, (Chrysler, GM, and Ford) of the Automotive Industry are struggling to keep their heads above water. “The Big 3” were a large contributor of donations to the DIA, and they had to pull out their funding in light of their current financial distress. Also, in recent news Michigan’s Gov. Jennifer Granholm apparently does not believe in the need for museums in michigan. Granholm relayed in her state address at the beginning of February that in order to balance Michigan’s budget, the elimination of the state department of History, Arts, and Libraries was necessary. Under this state department is a major Michigan museum funding council, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). This council provides numerous money in funding to all the museums and cultural agencies of Michigan. Many museums of Michigan lean heavily on this granting agency, and with its destruction, what are museums of Michigan to do?  Cut more jobs and ultimately close their doors. As a struggling museum professional myself, it saddens me that our cultural institutions are always the first things to go, and that the state would rather sink millions of dollars into our correctional facilities instead of the museums who provide some beauty and diversity to our state of Michigan. Yes this post may be a bit of a rant, but I have to say I am utterly sick to my stomach when I hear of the collapse of the arts and culture in Michigan and ultimately within our nation.

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One response to “Museums in Michigan: Economic distress

  1. There are still many public artworks in Minnesota that were created during the Great Depression and I’m willing to bet there are in Michigan. Perhaps your Governor needs a reminder of how artists were considered important to the success of the economy last time around? I say spam her with letters and e-mails from historians, artists and etc until she sits up and takes notice.

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