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'Day for Detroit' takes hold in bid to raise awareness for DIA plight

Queen Phillippa Interceeding for the Lives of the Burghers of Calais by Benjamin West was acquired by the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1889 as a gift from James E. Scripps.

Nearly 20 art blogs have joined together to showcase the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The city filed for bankruptcy protection, and the DIA may be forced to sell pieces to help pay off civic debt.

The “Day for Detroit” Social Media campaign is simple. Arts bloggers are not only forecasting what’s lost if pieces are sold, they’re also posting images of works from the DIA and asking their followers to do the same.

Chicago-based blogger and podcaster Duncan MacKenzie, co-founder of Bad at Sports, is among the effort’s backers.

“The impulse was, maybe we can do something collectively,” he says. “Maybe each one of us has a small voice, but if we speak in unison maybe we can bring enough attention to the problem that people start to recognize that this is a situation where Detroit is looking at their cultural assets as something that can be sold.”

On principal, he says, it’s the wrong move.

“In fact, these things exist in museums as public trust. And to take them out of museums is to break that public trust.”

MacKenzie says he’s hopeful that this grassroots campaign will raise awareness of a situation that “can kind of go by unnoticed, because it doesn’t seem to affect people’s lives immediately. It’s not like they’re turning off the power.”

Don’t have a blog but want to lend a hand? Buy a membership to the institution.