From any artist or art collector’s viewpoint it is heartbreaking to imagine being forced to part with priceless artwork for the sake of making money. However, Detroit’s debt problem is dire and rumors are spreading about the Mayor’s consideration of doing just that.

“…As Detroit city officials frantically try to stave off state intervention, whether by consent decree, emergency manager or even municipal bankruptcy, the city’s dire financial situation raises once taboo speculation: Is the city’s timeless art collection immune from the city’s urgent need for cash?…

“It’s too horrible for us to think about,” said Alan E. Schwartz, one of the museum’s key donors. “Graham (Beal) would never let it come to that,” said Ruth Rattner, a Birmingham-based art consultant.

No one would be speculating about the museum’s status if the specter of an emergency manager hadn’t also evolved as a possibility. The inconceivable has become less so, said Abt, given “the current political climate.”

As the worst-case scenarios mount, though, it’s worth remembering that financial hardship has been a constant feature of the Detroit art museum’s history. Even in those bleak days, though, there was no move to sell art. At the 1924 cornerstone dedication, museum official Ralph H. Booth described the new museum as “tangible evidence to the world that Detroit is a city of enlightenment and progress.” -Laura Berman, via DIA Frets it’s art may be at risk

Read more on the Mayor’s response and the economic possibilities: Detroit Mayor’s Denial