Activists want the DIA to spend its $300 million on a ‘world class experience’

Reporter Miriam Marini says $92.4 million came from Wayne County’s property taxes over the course of the past decade.

A room in the DIA with marble floors, stone walls, high decorated ceilings and chandeliers

Interior of the Detroit Institute of Art.

The Detroit Institute of Arts has collected nearly $300 million since 2012 from property taxpayers to provide services to Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County residents, and to keep the museum afloat.

Outlier Media and Detroit Free Press reporter Miriam Marini says Detroit activists want to know how the money is being used.

“Wayne County in particular has contributed $92.4 million so far through this property tax,” Marini says.

Detroit Free Press and Outlier Media reporter Miriam Marini reported on how the DIA is spending nearly $300 million from millage from taxpayers in Wayne, Macomb and Oakland counties.

She says the Wayne County Art Institute Authority was also established with the 2012 millage proposal to oversee how the funds were being used by the DIA.

“When this body was established, they also agreed upon a service agreement with the museum and so the service agreement outlines requirements for spending of the property tax that the museum is now collecting from residents.”

That includes $150,000 for field trip transportation, $300,000 for community collaborations and $100,000 for senior programming in Detroit. In total, $6 million have been allocated for these programs.

The remainder of the $86 million is left to the DIA’s discretion on how to use it.

Marini says Detroit activists want more.

“Activists are looking more at the museum to see what it could be doing in terms of providing a world-class experience for residents.”

She says the DIA did not comment on her original article, published in Outlier Media.

Detroit Documenters, a program that trains and pays residents to attend and take notes at public meetings, will go to the next WCAIA quarterly meeting on Monday, Dec. 19.

Marini says the entity will review the museum’s performance in the last year and make plans for the future. The current agreement expires at the end of next year.

“They need to get on the ball for drafting the next service agreement for the next 10 years,” she says.

To learn more about what they find out, visit the Documenters website.

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Nargis Rahman
    Nargis Hakim Rahman is the Civic Reporter at 101.9 WDET. Rahman graduated from Wayne State University, where she was a part of the Journalism Institute of Media Diversity.