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DIA interior
DIA interior

Detroit Institute of Arts offers a variety of Activities in May - Floral design demonstration, Japanese music, Samurai movies and more

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Contact: Pamela Marcil   (313) 833-7899
(Detroit)—Don’t miss the popular exhibition Samurai: Beyond the Sword, on view through June 1 (this is a ticketed exhibition). May features several free programs related to the exhibition, including a taiko drumming performance, Samurai movies, martial arts demonstrations and Japanese music performed on traditional instruments. 

Programs are free with museum admission, and free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties unless otherwise noted. For more information, call (313) 833-7900 or visit

Guided Tours: Tuesdays–Fridays, 1 p.m.; Saturdays–Sundays, 1 & 3 p.m.

Detroit City Chess Club: Fridays, 4–8 p.m.
The club’s mission is to teach area students the game and life lessons. Members have won state, regional and national competitions. People wanting to learn how to play chess should show up between 4 and 6 p.m. There will be no teaching between 6 and 8 p.m., but visitors can play chess.

Drawing in the Galleries (for all ages): Fridays, 6–9 p.m. Sundays, noon–4 p.m.

Drop-In Workshops (for all ages)
Fridays, 6–9 p.m. Watercolor Postcards
Saturdays, Noon–4 p.m. Scrolls
Sundays, Noon–4 p.m. Paper Bag Sculpture

Thursday, May 1
Annual Elizabeth Sites Kuhlman Lecture/Demonstration and Luncheon: Come to the Party! A Celebration of Flowers: Lecture 10:30 a.m.; Luncheon 12:30 p.m.
Jane Godshalk, AIFD floral design program, Longwood Gardens, holds certificates in floral design in Europe and the United States. She is an Artistic Judge for the Garden Club of America and received its National Medal for “consistently innovative floral design. Godshalk presents demonstrations and workshops around the world and will represent the United States as one of six international demonstrators at the World Flower Show in Dublin this year.

Godshalk will demonstrate the creation of several floral arrangements, followed by a small plates luncheon in the museum’s Great Hall. The arrangements will be on view for luncheon attendees, and they can participate in a raffle of the arrangements.

Tickets are $25 for the lecture/demonstration, and $50 for the lecture/demonstration and luncheon. Tickets are available at the DIA box office, at, or by calling 313-833-4005. Valet parking will be available for $10 at the Woodward entrance.

The program is sponsored by the museum support group Friends of Art & Flowers. 

Friday Night Live, May 2
Music: TBD: 7 & 8:30 p.m. 

Ford Family Sunday, May 4
Artist Demonstration: Japanese Boys Day: Noon–4 p.m.
To celebrate Japanese Boys Day, artists from the fields of Kendo, Judo and kiting will demonstrate their skills. 

Sunday Music Bar: Pianist Christina Dragone: 1–4 p.m.
Pianist Christina Dragone performs classical and pop standards.

Lecture: In Attendance to the Realm: Kano Painters in 17th-Century Japan: 2 p.m.
Professor Yukio Lippit, Harvard University, will talk about the origins, artistic developments and artists of the Kano House of Painters, an official painting school in Edo-period Japan. Lippit will illustrate how the Kano House of Painters relates to trends in Japan’s cultural and political history, with an emphasis on their influence on Detroiter Charles L. Freer’s collection of Japanese art. Sponsored by Asian & Islamic Art Forum, Freer House, Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute/WSU, Japan America Society and Detroit Creative Corridor Center.

Friday Night Live, May 9
Music: Heloisa Fernandes: 7 & 8:30 p.m. 
Brazilian jazz pianist Heloisa Fernandes is a singular voice in the new generation of 21st-century Brazilian musicians. She transforms ancient and folkloric Brazilian music with her own style of driving rhythms and elements of dance. 

Saturday, May 10
Artist Demonstration: The Bunraku-Inspired Puppets of Tom Lee: Noon–4 p.m.
Puppeteer Tom Lee, who collaborated on the puppets for War Horse, will discuss the history of Japanese puppetry styles bunraku and kuruma ningyo and the synthesis of Japanese puppetry traditions with contemporary experimental theater. Sponsored by Asian & Islamic Art Forum

Ford Family Sunday, May 11
Sunday Music Bar: Michael Chikuzen Gould & Japanese Cuisine: 1–4 p.m.
Michael Chikuzen Gould performs on the shakuhachi, a Japanese flute made of bamboo. Gould studied in Japan and is one of a few to hold the title “Dai Shihan” (Grand Master of Shakuhachi). To accompany the performance in Kresge Court, there will be Japanese cuisine and beverages. 

Friday Night Live, May 16
Music: New West Guitar Group: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
The New West Guitar Group performs popular covers, jazz standards and originals, combining acoustic and electric guitars to create their signature sound. Though the group is firmly rooted in classic jazz, the trio’s versatility as both players and composers has given them a reputation as pioneers in the realm of guitar ensemble repertoire.

Saturday, May 17
Lecture: The Medieval Art of Swordplay: 2 p.m.
Jeffrey Forgeng, curator, Higgins Armory Museum, discusses the latest modern research on the combat arts of the Middle Ages. Sponsored by Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Ford Family Sunday, May 18
Sunday Music Bar: Pianist Mick Dobday: 1–4 p.m.
Pianist Mick Dobday performs classical and jazz standards. 
Artist Demonstration: Warrior Tea: 1 & 3 p.m.
Japanese tea artisans present a traditional Sekishu Style (“Warrior Style”) Tea ceremony, a ritual known to be the orthodox style of Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867) and patronized by Samurai during the Edo period. 

Artist Demonstration: Warrior Tea: 1 & 3 p.m.
Japanese tea artisans present a traditional Sekishu Style (Warrior Style) Tea ceremony, a ritual known to be the orthodox style of Tokugawa Shogunate (1603-1867) and patronized by Samurai during the Edo period.

Lecture: Revealing Emotions within Found Objects: 2 p.m.
Nari Ward’s dramatic sculptural installations are composed of collected materials from his urban neighborhood. By revealing the numerous emotions inherent within found everyday objects, Ward’s works examine issues surrounding race, poverty and consumer culture. Sponsored by Friends of African and African American Art

Friday Night Live, May 23
Music: The Jitterbugs: Pioneers of the Jit: 7 & 8:30 p.m.
The 1970s urban dance style known as the Detroit Jit was relatively unknown to outsiders until now. Haleem “Stringz” Rasul Al-Rasheed has tracked down the Jitterbugs, the group recognized for creating the Detroit Jit, and created a documentary film focusing on the group. The evening will feature a screening and a performance by the Jitterbugs.

Ford Family Sunday, May 25
Sunday Music Bar: Pianist Tad Weed: 1–4 p.m. 
Pianist Tad Weed performs jazz standards.

Friday Night Live, May 30
Music: Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko: 7 p.m.
Los Angeles Matsuri Taiko will perform under the leadership of Master Etsuo Hongo in the DFT before the screening of the 2004 film The Twilight Samurai. Matsuri Taiko has become one of the premier taiko ensembles in the United States. Master Hongo studied traditional taiko drumming in his home country of Japan and founded LA Matsuri Taiko in 1977. Hongo’s style can be described as one with powerful sounds, various challenging technique, exciting movement and visual flair. Both the film and concert are free with museum admission

Detroit Film Theatre: The Twilight Samurai: 9:30 p.m.
Seibei Iguchi is a low-ranking samurai living in 19th-century Japan, in the fading days of the feudal Shogun period. His wife has died of tuberculosis, and with two daughters and an elderly mother to support, he and his family must survive in austerity. But when news of his sword-fighting prowess gets out, the samurai code of honor causes him to embark on a last, dangerous mission. In Japanese with English subtitles. Free with museum admission.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors ages 62+, $4 for ages 6–17, and free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties and DIA members. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.


The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), one of the premier art museums in the United States, is home to more than 60,000 works that comprise a multicultural survey of human creativity from ancient times through the 21st century. From the first Van Gogh painting to enter a U.S. museum (Self-Portrait, 1887), to Diego Rivera's world-renowned Detroit Industry murals (1932–33), the DIA’s collection is known for its quality, range, and depth. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.