WATCH Michigan Matters: Black History Month

Detroit museum CEO looks to stronger financial footing.

By Carol Cain
CBS Detroit

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Juanita Moore would love a few minutes with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr .

Like many institutions in the Motor City, Moore, president and CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, is working overtime amid tough circumstances to keep her facility on stable financial footing.

The Detroit  Institute of Arts (DIA) and its world-class collection of artwork that could reap a king’s fortune on the open market has gained headlines among cultural institutions as the city looks for ways to underwrite its own financial issues amid bankruptcy.

The city owns some of the DIA artwork and Orr had mentioned the possibility of selling some to raise funds for the city.

Numerous foundations have stepped up to help and prevent selling off some of its art, a move which Moore applauded.

The city of Detroit is among those supporting the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History which Moore would like to see continue. And that is why she would like to talk with Orr.

“I talked to Kevyn not long after he took over as EM a year ago,” Moore said during taping of “Michigan Matters” which airs 11:30 a.m. Sunday on CBS 62. “I was pleased he knew about our museum and its important role .”

Moore recently met with Mayor Mike Duggan.

“He says he will do what he can to help,” said Moore.

But she knows it will take Orr’s support to make a difference as he controls the purse strings.

Moore also lauded Ford Motor Co—which has maintained its financial support of the museum during the economic meltdown of 2008 and after.

Both General Motors and Chrysler ended sponsorships as they contended with their own bankruptcies. GM has since returned though at a lesser amount.

Despite the challenges, Moore is proud the museum has not had to cut programs or hours.

She’s bullish about the future of the Charles H. Wright African American Museum — which will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.

Watch “Michigan Matters” Sundays at 11:30 am on CBS 62.

Carol Cain is the Emmy winning senior producer/host of “Michigan Matters.” She writes about business and politics in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. You can reach her at

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