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Gargaro: A ‘grand’ thank you from the DIA

Over the past months much has been written about the grand bargain and what it means to our city, its pensioners and the DIA. When Judge Steven Rhodes accepted Detroit’s Plan of Adjustment on Nov. 7, he cited the grand bargain as one of the key reasons for (1) permitting Detroit’s exit from the bankruptcy process, (2) ensuring Detroit pensioners a predictable retirement funding source and (3) securing for a soon-to-be independent DIA the opportunity to broaden its outreach and service in full control of its future.

Since the much-reported breakfast meeting I enjoyed with Gov. Rick Snyder in Washington, D.C., in late January of this year, I, along with our director Graham Beal and other DIA leaders have assumed the responsibility of satisfying the museum’s commitment to have skin in the game by pledging to support the grand bargain with $100 million.

While that task seemed quite daunting when we began the solicitation process almost nine months ago, I am very pleased to confirm we are very close to fully satisfying our DIA grand bargain commitment.

The two words, “thank you,” that we used from the very beginning of this process and continue to this day, are not sufficient to express our deep gratitude to the many organizations and individuals who in spite of other material demands on their resources stepped up big time to make our DIA grand bargain commitment a grand success. Never once following many of our multi-million dollar requests for grand bargain support did we receive a no or have someone say our request was ridiculous.

More often than not we were greeted with some version of the statement Judge Rhodes made about the DIA in his opinion ending Detroit’s bankruptcy, “the DIA stands at the center of the city as an invaluable beacon of culture, education for both children and adults, personal journey, creative outlet, family experience, worldwide visitor attraction, civic pride and energy, neighborhood and community cohesion, regional cooperation, social service, and economic development.” We aspire to meet and exceed those sentiments every day.

Our challenge now is to gratefully acknowledge not only those generous donors who helped us achieve our grand bargain success, but also those who while they could not support the grand bargain initiative expressed interest in helping the DIA in some other manner both now and in the future.

As a consequence, every member of our DIA family will be in the thank-you business for the foreseeable future. Please permit me to close with a ‘grand’ thank you to all.

Eugene A. Gargaro Jr., chair,

board of directors, Detroit Institute of Arts