Detroit’s Cultural Institutions Face Deep Cuts

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May 18, 2011; Source: Detroit News | When it comes to slashing public support for cultural institutions, there's no artful way of doing it. Just bring out the knives. In Detroit, that trimming could result in 75 percent in cuts, or a drop of more than $900,000 in public support for the Detroit Historical Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and Eastern Market. In addition, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History stands to lose half of its $2 million in city funding.

The Detroit News describes all four of these institutions as some of the "city's most high-profile cultural sites." The proposed cuts are part of a plan to "come up with $65 million, which is the amount we believe the revenues are overinflated" in the city's next budget, said Councilwoman Saunteel. The council also wants to shift from an annual subsidy for the Detroit Zoo to sharing revenue the city collects from cell phone towers. That amount has yet to be set.

A spokesman for the the Detroit Historical Society, which runs the Historical Museum, said his organization is "confident the mayor and City Council will come up with a solution that is fair and affordable for the city." Meanwhile, Daniel Carmody, president of the six-block Eastern Market, which according to its website "has been feeding Detroit since 1891,” worries about what effects the $200,000 cut will have on his group's contribution "to the economic recovery of the city."—Bruce Trachtenberg