July 10 marks one year since we re-opened the museum with Covid-19 restrictions. With the exception of one week in April, the DIA has been continuously serving our visitors since then. During this time of difficulty, we have become more than a museum; certainly a place where anyone could rejoice in a meaningful artwork, but also a space that afforded a moment of calmness and a time for healing as we endured loss and uncertainty. Every day I am so grateful for the teams who have been working in our building during the pandemic. The relevance of their service can’t be emphasized enough and once we return to a more routine operation, as the pandemic recedes, we will applaud and thank these teams with a celebratory event, and bring our staff back together.
As we weathered the storm, it is important to remember that our team kept the museum going, successfully opening all scheduled exhibitions and keeping the DIA engaged with students, seniors, and community partners through our digital efforts in the tri-county and beyond. Last week we held our first official event on the grounds of the DIA, partnering with Concourse d’Elegance of America. As they made announcements about upcoming events, it was a good opportunity for the DIA to remind everyone that our popular Detroit Style: Car Design in the Motor City 1950-2020 exhibition has been extended until January 2022. Unfortunately, the accompanying and also very popular exhibition, Russ Marshall: Detroit Photographs 1958-2008, could not be extended due to the light-sensitive photographs which require limited exposure. In the meantime, the De Salle Photography Gallery will get ready to host our next show, Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, opening October 18, 2021.
Following the state guidelines, our Covid-19 restrictions have been mostly lifted, which brings a recovered sense of normalcy to the museum operations. Visitors walk around freely enjoying our temporary shows, our collection shines in the permanent display, and the autoworkers continue to build cars in the assembly line depicted in our Rivera murals. Everything seems to be in place. However, the challenging times that we have endured and continue to live in have afforded us, in many ways, the opportunity for renewal and change. Vita Brevis, Longa Ars is written on the stone at the entrance of Rivera Court, which is there to remind us that whatever important task we undertake requires much time, effort, and attention and that it might take many lifetimes to accomplish it. With this urgency in mind, let’s keep at the center of our daily work the lessons learned and the important renewal and change needed to transform our society and our DIA.