In recent days, dozens of workers and youth in the Detroit area and around the world have sent in messages of support for the October 4 demonstration, called by the Socialist Equality Party and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, to oppose the sale of art from the Detroit Institute of Arts.
We publish today another selection of endorsement messages. All endorsements will be collected and posted at defendthedia.org, where you can also send in your message of support and find out more about the campaign.
Sean Whitney, Nashville, Tennessee
“Access to art and culture should be viewed as a human right, not a commodity to be sold off to benefit the banks. These bankers’ predatory practices have destroyed Detroit, through no fault of the people who will be inevitably victimized by the loss of public access to the great works available at the DIA. The rich are not the only people who deserve to have their lives affected by great works of art, and we have to hold on to what we have before they try to take it from us, like they have so much else.”
Michael Simon, Artist, Los Angeles, California
“The DIA is Detroit’s crown jewel, and all its contents belong to the people of Detroit and those who visit. If the art is sold, that will constitute one of the most heinous attacks on culture and education we have seen yet. It will also be one more tragic symptom of the huge transfer of wealth from the people to the oligarchs. These public treasures must not disappear into private collections! It would be theft, and an international scandal.”
Alysa Marie Diebolt, Artist, Eastpointe, Michigan
“This isn’t important to me because I’m an artist, or because I live in Metro Detroit. This is important to me because I understand the value of the DIA to the people of Detroit, and the people of the Midwest. That value is far beyond dollar signs.”
Colleen Kelley, Artist, Miami Beach, Florida
“Cultural institutions like the DIA are what keep the city alive underneath all the decay from corruption. Art history is what defines a culture and a city. You cannot kill the city this way!”
Dylan Lubao, IT worker, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“When artists as yet unborn portray this turbulent era and the many struggles of the working class, their work will prominently feature the vultures and other bestial forms of the bourgeoisie circling around artistic achievements that were once their own handiwork. And yet the proletariat, the most potent and noble social force of the modern day, will strike a much more formidable figure as the defenders of these past gains.
“The defense of the Detroit Institute of Arts will mark a further closing of the ranks of the proletariat around a revolutionary socialist program. The safeguarding of art and culture is inseparable from the fight for our livelihoods and democratic rights, and is indeed inseparable from the fight for socialism.”
Amos Przekaza, Chemist, Los Angeles, California
“I am from the great state of Michigan and spent a lot of time in Detroit. I feel like this art surely should be available to the public. These are the things that make our society OK still. It would be a shame if this auction was to happen.”
David, Kalamazoo, Michigan
“The collection of the DIA is the collective property and heritage of the people of Detroit and everyone. It is the greatest cultural institution of the City of Detroit. The people and government of Detroit have already dealt with much. Now the indignity of an un-elected economic dictator threatens to take away that great cultural heritage. Why must the city and the people have to pay for the mistakes of politicians and corporations?
“Cultural heritage must be defended; selling off one work to placate the people who created this mess would open the way for the creditors and the greedy financial types to loot and rob. This is robbing the people, consolidating our heritage into private hands.”
Dillon Steward, Mount Pleasant, Michigan
“Save the art!”
Ricardo Quiñónez Alemán, Artist/Higher Education, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
“The value of the art pieces are still very little in comparison to the deficit of the city! It will patch only a thin surface of the real problem, but in the long run is going to affect their economy even more! Their rich collections attract more than 600,000 visitors yearly from surrounding areas and around the globe. The DIA is one of the richest museums with one of the best collections in the nation. If their collection is gone, it will be devastating to the now and future economy. But more importantly, it will be devastating to education, to teachers, students, artists, schools, universities, scholars, grants, culture exchange, art lovers at so many levels. It will not just be a loss of precious art work, but a loss of identity and the strong sense of belonging. A big loss for our future generations of children! Artists let our voices to be heard! Defend the DIA!!!”
Sybille Fuchs, Germany
“I think your campaign to defend the DIA is of enormous international importance, and I wholeheartedly support it. I went to the DIA when I visited Detroit together with my son in 2002 and was quite enthusiastic about what I saw of the collection, and of course the murals by Rivera.
“I think it is a monstrous crime to sell those great pieces of art to some rich collectors who will merely keep them as financial investment. They belong to those who do not have the money to buy art. I endorse all you wrote about that and try to inform everybody I know about the campaign. I very much hope that the outrage of so many people will be successful and will make others aware about the importance of culture for all working people.”
Diane Schluter, Tech Support, Houston, Texas
“Wish I could be there with you to march!”
Marcie, Self-employed, Detroit/Ann Arbor, Michigan
“If the art gets sold off it is one more nail in the coffin of this city. We want people to come back. It brings many people to the city. It is supposed to be there for future generations to see and enjoy. Stop taking everything from the people. It will end up in some private collection, and no one will ever get to see it again. There is no way that selling the art will improve the city’s current situation. I have one question: Where did the money come from to pay Christie’s auction house? They do nothing for free!”
Misty Coss, Bay City, Michigan
“Without the DIA you are killing local businesses and culture!”
Nicholas Stark, Student, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“The people’s right to ownership of the cultural legacy of the city cannot be left to be plundered by the criminally inept financial elite of Detroit. My only regret is that I cannot be there in person to support the struggle against the ruthless emergency manager of the city.”
Curtis, Self-employed, Ypsilanti, Michigan
“I’ve been a supporter and promoter of the DIA since the 1980s, and I think the art at the DIA should be off limits forever. Once acquired it should never be for sale. Sell a City Council mansion, close down a hockey rink or football stadium or postpone a festival for one year to keep the DIA open for 1 month, but do not under any circumstances sell art to pay off irresponsible debt makers. I never would and never will! It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a state and city to support a cause! Come Together Right Now For the Right Reasons Detroit!”
Carissa Welton, Teacher, Ann Arbor, Michigan
“Protect the public treasures housed in the DIA. Request your local representative to bring Senate Bill 401 to the house for a vote.”
Robert Marsh, Richmond, California
“The Detroit Institute of Arts nurtured me in the arts from my youth through my adulthood. Everyone in the world deserves to have access to this world class institution. To even consider altering or damaging it in any way is criminal in intent and deserves the strongest response.”
Carolyn Zaremba, Semi-retired, San Francisco, California
“Selling off this precious art is a cultural crime against the people. The wonder and beauty of human creation is wasted on the ravening profit-takers. The working population has more feeling for and understanding of the art of centuries than the philistines who treat it as mere ‘product.’ For the bankers and their ilk, there is no history, no treasure, to be found in what human minds and hands have produced other than their sale value. The result could be the end of all of society and its culture. We cannot let this happen.”
“I was very moved by your involvement in defending Detroit’s treasure. I remember my visit in 2001 to Detroit, and the DIA was my only memory from this visit. This museum is a landmark of the great past times of Detroit and cannot be removed or amputated. It has to be a stable monument in these tormented times. Such an easy way, to cut spending in arts when we cope with crisis.”
Maureen Petrucci, Artist, Royal Oak, Michigan
“As an artist I remember my first trip to the DIA, at age ten, as planting the seed pivotal to my image of myself as an artist. I was swept away by the knowledge that the self portrait of Van Gogh was from his actual hands, that the Picassos were real, and not prints. As a college student at Wayne State University, the DIA was my refuge. It was my art home. The current DIA, with its open doors and extraordinary free concerts is a joy to experience, giving us all a greater sense of the possibility of human beings to create beauty and civilization in a world of havoc.
“Having lived in other states and countries, I know well that our DIA is a jewel not replicated in many cities in the world.
“If we are ever to recreate Detroit as a vital metropolis, what would be served by stripping our city of its finest crown and pawning the gems? This seems to me the most short-sighted way in which to allow our Art Institute to serve our city’s fiscal dilemma, a problem better served by creating a more beautiful and welcoming city, with some of the world’s greatest art accessible to everyone.”
Steve Barman, Web developer, Ferndale, Michigan
“Don’t let politicians punish art lovers for politicians’ mistakes.”
David McKinney, Auto worker, Detroit, Michigan
“The DIA art belongs to the people of Detroit. It doesn’t belong to the city of Detroit. The creditors should go take a long walk off a short pier. The art in the DIA is unique. It was made by people who care about what they were doing. It doesn’t belong in the vaults of some rich people.”