"Detroit Industry" by Diego Rivera, depicts automobile mass production in the early 20th century, and is one of the important works that Toyota's donation is helping to save. Image: Detroit Institute of Arts.

Toyota Supports Detroit Community with Major Donation to Art Museum


On August 6th, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) announced that they will accept a $1 million donation from Toyota Motor North America. DIA is owned by the city of Detroit, which has been struggling to fund some of its municipal institutions after the city declared bankruptcy in 2013. DIA needs to raise $100 million as part of a deal that will help the city emerge from bankruptcy.

Toyota’s donation to DIA is welcome relief, as many have feared DIA might have to sell valuable works from its important collection to meet its financial obligations. The collection includes Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (1887), the first of his paintings to arrive in the US, and Diego Rivera’s huge mural of Detroit Industry (1932-1933) that depicts Ford Motor’s vehicle production assembly lines.

Toyota, a Japanese company, is the first foreign automotive company to commit to assisting in the reconstruction of America’s “motor city.” Toyota’s contribution adds to those of the American Big Three automakers- General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler- who have collectively pledged $26 million to support the prestigious museum. The donation is a strong example of foreign companies supporting American communities in ways besides job creation and investment.

Toyota, which is in the process of relocating its North American headquarters from California to Texas, acknowledges the importance of Detroit for the whole automobile industry. Mr. Simon Nagata, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America, Inc. says that the company wanted to show its gratitude to the city and people of Detroit for building and supporting the motorcar industry.