For art’s sake, vote no

7 08 2012

First thing I’ve had time to write in a while. Now appearing, a little belatedly, at the Michigan View.

It would be a genuine surprise if the trio of Arts Authority millages — the basis of the so-called Detroit Institute of Arts tax — failed to pass tomorrow. Simply compare the number of “Vote Yes” yard signs in the front yards of high-end homes and boutique shops to the non-existent “Vote No” signs that opponents of the measure have apparently been too embarrassed to produce.

And it’s scarcely surprising that opponents have been largely mute (save for a few brave voices here at the View). The millages are so easy to support: Just vote yes, and for a few paltry dollars a year we can keep art alive in Detroit. It’s a reasonable proposition. So reasonable, in fact, that any critic must be either an art-hating philistine or a greedy elitist. In any case, an individual certainly unfit for polite, cultured company and undeserving of future dinner party invitations.

I would be unsuitable for said dinner parties. Forcing taxpayers to support cultural institutions is not only morally unjustifiable — it ignores the historical factors that led to the creation of the DIA and the decline that set the stage for its current predicament.

For historical perspective, I’ll cite an expert on the formative years of the DIA: Read the rest of this entry »