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Executive Vice President of DIA Announces Retirement

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) announces the retirement from the museum of its Executive Vice President, Maurice Drue Parrish.

Mr. Parrish, originally from Chicago, was appointed Deputy Director of the museum in 1989 by former mayor Coleman A. Young, after a nationwide search. His duties included overseeing key operating departments of the museum as well as working on the development of a plan for renovating and expanding the museum.

When the museum’s operating support from the State of Michigan was slashed in 1991, Parrish’s responsibilities included helping to reduce the size of the museum’s staff and reorganizing its operations. During this time he was responsible for implementing several changes in the museum’s operations geared towards helping the reduced staff operate more efficiently.

In 1994, Parrish was re-appointed Deputy Director by the newly elected mayor, Dennis W. Archer.

When Samuel Sachs, II announced his retirement from the museum in 1997, Parrish became Interim Director, a post he held for two years while a search was conducted for a permanent director.

Significant museum events during Parrish’s term as Interim Director included:

Splendors of Ancient Egypt, which was the first DIA exhibition to include a Web site curriculum among its program offerings

Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks, which set an attendance record for a photography exhibition at the DIA

Renovation of the Modern and Contemporary Art galleries

Approval of a 20-year operating agreement with the City of Detroit that established a non-profit operating corporation with the responsibility of managing and raising funds for the museum

Renovation of the 18th-century French galleries

Initiation of the highly successful First Fridays program of opening evening hours and enhanced scheduled activities

Re-accreditation of the DIA by the American Association of Museums

Launching of the museum’s $331 million capital campaign

With the appointment, in 1999, of Graham W. J. Beal as director, Parrish became Executive Vice President and focused his activities on initiating the museum’s Master Plan Project for renovation and expansion, as well as on managing the museum’s Building Operations Division.

According to Director Beal, “During his 17-year tenure at the DIA, Maurice’s involvement in a wide variety of museum projects represents a distinct contribution to the history of the museum.”

While Parrish has no immediate plans for his future, he looks forward to being able to spend more time with his family, most of whom still reside in Chicago.

Parrish will remain on staff at the museum until May 31, 2006.

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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 is currently undergoing a major renovation, scheduled for completion in late 2007. The museum remains open with a dynamic schedule of programs and activities for all ages. Visitors can enjoy some of the DIA’s “greatest hits” while the museum prepares for an entirely new installation when renovations are completed.