Metro Detroiters Sound Off on DIA Millage Ahead of Michigan Primary

CultureShift listeners call in on the DIA millage renewal, appearing on the the March 10th election ballot.

Next week on your Michigan primary ballot, will you vote yes or no on a millage renewal for the Detroit Institute of Arts?

The storied art institution in Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood is at the center of a debate about whether or not to support the proposal of a renewed millage ahead of its expiration date

Michigan primaries take place on March 10. CultureShift hosted a conversation a week in advance of the election to hear what metro Detroiters think of the millage renewal. 

Click the player to hear CultureShift’s Ryan Patrick Hooper host a conversation about the 2020 DIA Millage proposal. 


Steve Emsley of Lyons Township, is one of the plaintiffs listed in a lawsuit filed on February 21 against the DIA that is pushing for the museum to be more transparent and comply with state laws, as it pertains to the Open Meeting and Public Information Act

“The mission of the DIA and the programming is important and I personally really like it. The funding is important, where it’s going is also important and how that’s being done is especially important,” Emsley tells CultureShift’s Ryan Patrick Hooper. “The Open Meetings Act is how we find out what the DIA is doing with this money and where it’s truly going. So why are they so persistent in not being open to the public?” 

Emsley confirms that financial gain is not the motive behind the suit. 

“There is nothing in this for the plaintiffs,” says Emsley. “We’re risking anywhere between $40,000 and $90,000 of our own money. The only thing we can possibly get out of that is compliance. There is no financial reward.”  


“If we were robbed last time, why should we vote for it again? I don’t know where the money’s going.” – Paul of Grosse Pointe Farms

“I think everyone should be exposed to the arts and music. If I have to pay 10, maybe 20 dollars a year for the millage, that’s equivalent to a cup of coffee, if you buy speciality coffee in a month’s time. So I will definitely vote for the millage. I voted for it once before. Please allow the younger people to be exposed to the DIA.” – Adrienne from Detroit

Got an opinion on the DIA millage renewal? Comment below.

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