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Detroit Institute Of Arts Honors Lifetime Service Of Outstanding Arts Supporters

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) will honor three long-time museum supporters with Lifetime Service Awards at its annual Donor Recognition Reception on Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. The award is granted to individuals, corporations and foundations that have demonstrated exemplary, long-term commitment to the museum. This year’s honorees are Ms. Margaret H. Demant, the McGregor Fund, and Bank One Corporation.

"We are proud to award the DIA’s Lifetime Service Award to such devoted museum supporters,” said Graham W. J. Beal, DIA director. “Their outstanding commitment and dedication have helped fulfill our mission to present major exhibitions, educational programs, and our world-class collection to the community. We truly appreciate their tireless work on behalf of the DIA.”

Margaret H. Demant

Demant has been a DIA member since 1965 and has provided numerous gifts of art to the museum. She has a special interest in African art, which she began collecting in the 1960’s. Among her gifts of African art are the sculpture Pipe Bowl and Stem, the exquisite Asante Soul Washer’s Badge, the Rungu Staff Figure, and three Tuareg Pendants. Demant has also been a generous donor of works of many other cultures and eras, including Piet Mondrian’s Still Life with Sunflower and Michele Oka Doner’s contemporary art Table. She joined with others to help the DIA acquire the painting Flowers in a Glass Vase by Rachel Ruysch, a French 12th century ivory Casket Lid; and the Pre-Columbian Male and Female Figures.

Demant has assembled a remarkable personal collection, and has graciously shared it with the museum, from loaning objects to temporary exhibitions to opening her home for the “Day Away With the DIA” and Friends of Modern Art’s ArtTalk programs. She is also an active member of the DIA board of directors and serves on the boards of four museum auxiliaries.

The McGregor Fund

The McGregor Fund was founded in Detroit in 1925 with contributions from Tracy McGregor and his wife, Katherine Whitney McGregor. They were active in helping the homeless, providing affordable loans, and addressed issues such as justice in police courts, inhumane prisons and care for people with epilepsy. Their legacy of activism and commitment to serving society lives on today through the McGregor Fund.

The association between the McGregor Fund and the DIA covers more than 50 years, and their gifts have addressed many aspects of the museum’s core mission. They have assisted in acquiring works of art such as the 15th-century Italian painting, Madonna and Two Angels Adoring the Christ Child, and the Egyptian Chapel Wall of Mery-nesut. The Fund’s early support of the Art Quarterly helped the museum address its responsibility to publish scholarly research on the collection. The Fund also assisted in the establishment of the Conservation Services Laboratory that preserves art in the museum’s care. The Center for Conservation is now recognized as one of the finest in the country, and the leading laboratory in the Midwest, serving museums across Michigan, the Midwest and Ontario.

The McGregor Fund has generously contributed to the DIA’s previous two major fundraising campaigns. Their $1 million gift to the Partnership for Renewal in 1992 helped the museum through the financial crisis that followed a severe reduction in state support in 1991. They assisted again in 1998 with a $1.5 million gift to the “New Day at Your DIA” campaign, which is helping to address critical operations, capital improvement and endowment-building priorities.

Bank One Corporation

Bank One began contributing to the DIA in 1953, and through the years their generous donations totaling more than $2.5 million have earned them recognition as a DIA Second Century Partner. Gifts from Bank One include annual operating support, special project support, and exhibition sponsorship. In addition, many of the company’s executives have served with distinction on the DIA’s board of directors.

In the mid-1960’s Bank One (then National Bank of Detroit) supported the creation of gallery guides that helped provide information on works of art in the galleries. In the 1970’s they were among the early supporters of Bal Africain, an annual fundraiser that was originally established to help fund the DIA’s African Art gallery. Bank One has also sponsored special exhibitions, such as Magnificenza! The Medici, Michelangelo and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence, a critical and popular success.

Editor’s Note: This event is not open to the public, but media are invited to cover it.