07/19/2013 12:45 pm ET

With Bankruptcy Filing, Detroit's Massive Art Collection Could Be Up For Sale

Detroit Institute of Art

Some lawmakers and arts leaders have been vowing to protect one of Detroit’s most valuable assets: its art, which is estimated to be worth billions. But without a law prohibiting the sale of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection, it is unclear whether the city can shield the works from creditors now that it has filed for bankruptcy.

In May, the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, requested an inventory of the DIA’s collection, causing concern among arts leaders that the works could be sold if the city filed for bankruptcy. In June, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued an opinion that the city’s art could not be sold to pay off its estimated $19 billion in debt, citing the state’s charitable trust law.

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