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Detroit Institute of Arts Honors Lifetime Supporters

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Awards to honor Janet M. Miller, DTE Energy and Eleanor & Edsel Ford Fund

October 13, 2006 (Detroit)—The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will hold its annual Lifetime Service Awards on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 6 p.m. The awards recognize individuals, families, corporations, foundations, or community organizations who have consistently, over a long period of years, contributed to the advancement and growth of the DIA in an exemplary manner. This year’s recipients are Janet M. Miller, DTE Energy and the DTE Energy Foundation, and the Eleanor & Edsel Ford Fund.

Janet M. Miller

Miller became a DIA member in 1969 and has been an active DIA volunteer since 1973, serving on various volunteer committees and museum auxiliary support groups. She became an Art to the Schools (ATS) docent in 1973, giving slide presentations to metropolitan Detroit school children. She was elected as chair of the ATS committee in 1975, was elected to the Volunteer Committee board in 1982, and became its chair in 1985. In that year, she inaugurated the popular “A Day away with the DIA” program, which provides DIA members with opportunities to take day trips focused on various aspects of the art world.

Miller has also been an active member of the Graphic Arts Council, Friends of Modern Art, and the Modern Decorative Arts Group, developing carefully planned trips that have provided exceptional enrichment opportunities.

Miller and her husband, Dr. Robert J. Miller, have also provided funds to acquire art, and have donated works of art to the museum’s collection.

DTE Energy and the DTE Energy Foundation

DTE Energy, then known as the Detroit Edison Company, began its support of the Detroit Institute of Arts in the late 1950’s. Since that time, it has been a generous donor of funds, in-kind services, and executives’ time and talents through their service on the DIA’s board. Its current total giving exceeds $2.5 million, and includes generous grants to each of the DIA’s three major fundraising campaigns.

The company formed the DTE Energy Foundation in 1986 to manage its charitable giving programs and volunteer efforts. Their corporate membership from its earliest days helped support museum operations. Their matching gift program has doubled the impact of hundreds of their employees’ gifts to the museum. The company also funded special projects, and were a corporate underwriter for many years of the Family Art Game, a newspaper supplement that was delivered to every Detroit Free Press reader one Sunday per year. Their centennial gift to the museum funded the commission of Romare Bearden’s Quilting Time, and an accompanying exhibition. They also supported events such as Under the Stars, the Joe Louis Award dinner, Art and Flowers, and Bal Africain. In addition to ticket purchases, they provided considerable media equipment and expertise for events such as Under the Stars and Bal Africain.

DTE Energy has also given generously to the museum’s recent fundraising efforts. They supported the Partnership for Renewal with a gift of $500,000, increased that level of support in the New Day at Your DIA campaign by contributing $750,000, and have pledged $1 million for the Great Art, New Start initiative.

Many DTE executives have been active with the DIA. Walker L. Cisler, previously president then board chairman at Detroit Edison, was a longtime DIA trustee. Retired executive S. Martin Taylor, who directed DTE’s corporate and governmental affairs, also served on the DIA’s board. DTE Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Meador is an involved DIA board member. Several members of DTE Energy’s corporate board also serve or have served on the DIA governing boards: Alfred R. Glancy III, Lillian Bauder, Allan Gilmour, Howard F. Sims, and Joe Laymon.

Eleanor & Edsel Ford Fund

Created by Eleanor Ford in 1944, the Eleanor & Edsel Ford Fund has made generous contributions to support museum operations, programs, exhibitions and art acquisitions. Art acquisitions include The Elephant Society Mask by Bamileke, the exquisite gold filigree Bead from Baule, and the Djenne Warrior Figure.

The Fund’s officers have also served the museum with distinction, beginning with the extraordinary patronage of Eleanor Ford. Her vision and commitment to the museum was demonstrated throughout her life. When she died in 1976, she left an exceptional bequest for the museum, including artwork and funds. Her children carried on the work of the Fund as well as their mother’s work at the DIA. Her son, Henry Ford II, served on the DIA’s board and her daughter, Josephine F. Ford, also for many years a trustee for the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Fund, served on the museum’s governing board until her death in 2005. Current Fund trustee David M. Hempstead has been on the DIA’s board since 2004.


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.

Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is a donation. We recommend $6 for adults and $3 for children. DIA members are admitted free. For membership information call 313-833-7971.

Programs are made possible with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the City of Detroit.