Museum InfoMedia Room

DIA docent tour
Docent tour

February Features Black History Month Celebration and More at Detroit Institute of Arts - Activities include storytelling, movies, live music and family performances

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Detroit)—Black History Month (BHM) comes alive at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) with family performances, storytelling, live music, movies and more. The exhibitions Fakes, Forgeries, and Mysteries and An Intuitive Eye: André Kertész Photographs, 1914–1969 are on view.

Programs are free with museum admission unless otherwise noted. For more information call (313) 833-7900 or visit

The Detroit Film Theatre is sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.

Guided Tours: Wednesdays–Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Fridays, 1, 6 & 7:30 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 4–6 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, February 4, 11, 18 and 25, 6–9 p.m. – Miniature Paper Masks: Create a miniature mask using tagboard paper, markers and a variety of art-making materials, then learn how masks are used in different cultures. BHM program.
Saturdays, February 5, 12, 19 and 26, Noon–4 p.m. – Mosaics: A mosaic is a picture or decoration made of small pieces of stone, glass or other materials.  Make a simple mosaic using a wide variety of materials.
Sundays, February 6, 13, 20 and 27, Noon–4 p.m. – Senufo Painting: Explore this West African form of painting on fabric using markers and muslin, a loosely woven cotton fabric. BHM program.

Wednesday, February 2
Lecture: Growing the DIA’s Great Collection of American Art
: 6:30 p.m.
Since Kenneth Myers joined the DIA as curator of American Art in 2005, the department has acquired nine important paintings, including: Violet and Blue: Among the Rollers by James McNeill Whistler; Beach at Long Branch: Sunrise by William Trost Richards; several major pieces of furniture; and wonderful examples of American ceramics, glass and metalwork. Myers will discuss many of these acquisitions, share the sometimes surprising details of the hunt for important but affordable potential acquisitions, and explain some of the criteria that shape the American Art department’s collecting priorities.

Friday Night Live, February 4
Music: Carmen Lundy:
7 & 8:30 p.m.
Carmen Lundy is celebrated throughout the world for her vocal artistry and is highly regarded for her jazz innovation. Lundy, a multi-instrumentalist and gifted composer, performs music from her latest CD, Solamente, on which she arranged, produced, recorded, mixed and played every instrument. Joining Lundy are pianist Anthoney Wonse, Kenny Davis on bass and Jamison Ross on drums. BHM program.

Saturday, February 5
Detroit Film Theatre: Phil Ochs: There But for Fortune
: 4 p.m.
This film features interview and performance footage of Phil Ochs over the course of two decades, tracing his meteoric musical career, and includes insights of Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and others. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Vision: 7 p.m.
Vision tells the life of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th-century Benedictine nun who was relentlessly determined to expand the responsibilities of women within the order. At the same time, she had to fend off hostility from the church over the visions she claimed to receive from God. In German with English subtitles. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Howl: 9:30 p.m.
James Franco plays the young Allen Ginsberg, poet and chronicler of the Beat Generation. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Family Sunday, February 6
Artist Demonstration: Painting and Mixed Media:
Noon–4 p.m.
In recent years painter and mixed media artist Senghor Reid has been working on a series entitled The Burden of Dreams. The series documents the lives of people in an urban setting ravaged and altered by the relentless imprint of human activity on the earth in a post-industrial age. BHM program.

Friday Night Live, February 11
Music: The Rayse Biggs Quintet
: 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Master trumpeter Rayse Biggs leads a group assembled from some of the hottest jazz players in the Detroit area.  A veteran of the Detroit jazz scene, Biggs performs his highly charged style of Motown jazz, while exploring the music of trumpet master Freddie Hubbard and others. BHM program.

Saturday, February 12
Detroit Film Theatre: Soundtrack for a Revolution:
4 p.m.
The freedom songs of the Civil Rights movement are brought to life by artists including John Legend, The Roots, Joss Stone and Wyclef Jean. The importance of the songs, which enabled an oppressed population to sing words they could not say, is illuminated through archival footage of interviews with Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond and Andrew Young, and the skill and diligence of executive produce Danny Glover. Tickets are $7.50, and $6.50 for DIA members, seniors and students with I.D. Call 313-833-4005 for information. BHM program.

Detroit Film Theatre: Academy Award Nominated Short Films: 7 p.m.
See for details.

Family Sunday, February 13
Class: Memory Boxes:
(ages 5–8 with an adult): 1–3 p.m.
Do you have mementos or treasures that need a home? If so, this is the class for you. Children and adults can decorate together or individually their choice of a large or small box to hold those treasured memories. Boxes are available for pick up one week after class. Members $24, non-members $28. To register, email or call (313) 833-4249.

Storytelling: Ivory Williams: 2 p.m.
Ivory D. Williams, president of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers, presents highly interactive and entertaining stories designed for both youth and adults. BHM Program.

Lecture: Nineteenth Annual Alain Locke Awards “Merging Life and Art in Abstraction” by William T. Williams: 2 p.m.
In his 40-year career, this year’s Alain Locke Award recipient, William T. Williams, has created numerous series of abstract paintings and prints reflecting personal memories, variations on themes, technical innovations, mastery of color and diverse approaches. He is acknowledged as an initiator in 1968 of the Studio Museum in Harlem’s renowned Artists-in-Residence program, which continues to jumpstart the careers of many artists of African descent. Since 1971, Williams has been a professor of art at Brooklyn College, the City University of New York.  His lecture will focus on the development of his art and career. BHM program.

Friday Night Live, February 18
Music: Fun House
: 7 and 8:30 p.m.
Detroit master drummer Skeeto Valdez brings together musical collaborators from his past—bassist Damon Warmack, guitarist Kris Kurzawa and keyboardist Phil Hale—for an evening of jazzy funk.

Saturday, February 19
Detroit Film Theatre: Lust for Life
: 4 p.m.
Kirk Douglas is physically and emotionally uncanny as the tormented Vincent van Gogh. Van Gogh’s life is chronicled from his ill-fated stint as a preacher to his artistic awakening, stormy friendship with Paul Gauguin (Anthony Quinn), commercial failure and subsequent psychological descent leading to his suicide in 1890. Presented in conjunction with the DIA’s Fakes, Forgeries and Mysteries exhibition, the film is introduced by Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA associate curator of European Paintings. Tickets: Free for DIA members, free with museum admission, and $5 for all others.

Detroit Film Theatre: Academy Award Nominated Short Films: 7 p.m.
See for details.

Family Sunday, February 20
Brunch with Bach: Jade Simmons:
11 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Known for her musical creativity and electrifying stage presence, Jade Simmons is committed to expanding the boundaries of classical music. She will perform variations from her new recording, Spice. Tickets: 11 a.m., Continental breakfast and concert, $20; 1:30, brunch and concert, $35; concert only, $15. Call 313-833-4005.

Family Performance: A World of Music and Stories: 2 p.m.
Audrey and Bob Allison will present an upbeat program that includes humorous interactive stories, audience participation, hands-on fun, beautiful music and musical instruments from all over the world. BHM program.

Friday Night Live, February 25
Music: Johnnie Bassett:
7 & 8:30 p.m.
Legendary Detroit guitarist and singer Johnnie Bassett performs music from his latest CD, The Gentleman is Back. Bassett’s guitar playing was described by the All Music guide as a unique combination of jump blues and delta stylings. He will be joined by Brothers Groove members Chris Codish on keyboards, James Simonson on base, Keith Kaminski on saxophone and Michael Gibbs on drums. BHM program.

Saturday, February 26
Lecture: Of Crayfish & Truffles: Life & Luxury in Paris, 1720-1770:
2 p.m.
In mid-18th century France, the decorative sculptural ornament on so many extravagantly luxurious serving vessels and tableware actually portrayed, quite naturalistically, the ingredients of the food contained within. This naturalism reflected the broader interests of the Enlightenment as well as the latest culinary developments. Charissa Bremer-David, curator of Sculpture and Decorative Arts, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, will survey some of these miniature sculptures, identify their component parts of vegetables, game and fish and compare these groupings to the ingredients of recipes in period cookbooks.

Detroit Film Theatre: My Tale of Two Cities: 4 p.m.
In this insightful documentary, screenwriter Carl Kurlander finds himself overcome with a most unusual mid-life crisis: he makes up his mind to flee Hollywood and move back to Pittsburgh. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Sampson and Delilah: 7 p.m.
Set in the aboriginal communities of Australia, what might have been an age-old love story explodes cliché through unvarnished authenticity. Tickets: $7.50; DIA members, seniors and students with I.D., $6.50.

Detroit Film Theatre: Vision: 9:30 p.m.
See Feb. 5 for description.

Family Sunday, February 27
Class: All Levels Potter’s Wheel
: (Adults only): 1–4 p.m.
Enjoy an afternoon with the potter's wheel including demonstrations and individual guidance designed for the absolute beginner and advanced student. Projects will be fired for pick-up at a later date. Class size limed to 12 students. Members $36, non-members $48. To register, email or call (313) 833-4249.

Family Performance: Paul Mesner Puppets Presents Anansi the Spider: 2 p.m.
Anansi the Spider is a live telling of four classic folk tales from Africa and the Caribbean performed by Paul Mesner Puppets. These humorous stories feature a trickster spider that sometimes gets tricked himself. In “How the Stories came to the World,” “Tiger Becomes a Riding Horse,” “The Magic of Five,” and “Dinner for Two” Anansi the Spider offers universal lessons of wit and cleverness. BHM Program.

Lecture: John Singer Sargent’s Daughters of Edward D. Boit: 2 p.m.
John Singer Sargent’s masterpiece the Daughters of Edward D. Boit has haunted visitors since it was first exhibited in Paris in 1882. Some early critics were baffled by it, while others praised its modernity. Novelist Henry James described it as the “happy play-world of a family of charming children,” but today’s audiences often find the scene a penetrating essay on the psychology of childhood. Erica Hirshler, Croll Senior Curator of American Paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will give an illustrated lecture on the painting, the subject of her recent book, Sargent’s Daughters: The Biography of a Painting.

Hours and Admission
Museum hours are 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $4 for ages 6-17, and free for 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. As the DIA celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2010, it does so with renewed commitment to its visitor-centered experience and to its mission of creating opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible in part with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Detroit.

Contact: Pamela Marcil (313) 833-7899