On Aug. 7 voters in Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties approved a 10-year, 0.2 mill property tax to support the Detroit Institute of Arts. The millage is expected to generate up to $23 million annually over the next 10 years to support the museum.
Poll results show the millage passed easily in Oakland and Wayne counties, but passed by a slim margin in Macomb.
Voters in Macomb County passed the millage by a mere 1,340 votes, with 50.5 percent in favor of the tax and 49.5 percent opposed.
With 62 percent the voted counted, 64 percent of Oakland County voters approved the measure and 36 percent voted against it. In Wayne County, with 92 percent of the vote counted, 67 percent were in favor and 33 percent opposed.
Sue Troia, a DIA employee for 26 years, voted in favor of the millage and was happy to see it pass.
“It’s always been a special place for me — the DIA’s been a source of comfort and inspiration. Others should always have that opportunity,” she said.
City of Detroit mayor Dave Bing encouraged voters in all counties to support the millage at rally sponsored by the Art is For Everyone campaign on July 31.
“We take for granted that this is going to continue, if we don’t get out and vote and make sure our voices are heard it would be a catastrophe for us to lose the kind of support the DIA needs,” Bing said.
Starting today, residents of all three counties can enjoy free unlimited general admission to the DIA with proof of residency. The museum also promises to offer free self-guided field trips with transportation subsidies, expanded programs for seniors and teacher enrichment and an increased involvement in curriculum development with school systems.
As a special thank you to voters, the DIA will premier a rare painting, “Woman Holding a Balance” by Johannes Vermeer today, on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington. The painting will be on display through Sept. 2.
“It’s a rare painting by a Dutch master,” museum spokeswoman Pamela Marcil told The Detroit Free Press. “We think this is a good way to thank the voters, to have a Vermeer here today, because there’s only about 35 in existence that are known, and in U.S. museums, there are only 11. (It’s) wonderful, world-class art, just like the DIA has.”