Our museum is a place where creativity thrives and serves as a platform on which artists have a voice to bring their stories to the center of our attention. Infused by the power of art, these stories provide multiple new perspectives about the world in which we live, helping us understand the cultural wealth of our diverse communities and the evolving fabric of our human nature. As an encyclopedic institution with an extraordinary collection, the DIA offers the opportunity to explore the creativity of individuals from around of the world since the beginning of times to works created as recently as last week. In fact, on June 25 we opened our first Wayne County High School Art Exhibition displaying artwork from 60 students across the county.
It was a special event and to “cut the red ribbon” we were honored with the presence of County Executive Warren C. Evans, who expressed that “the exhibit demonstrates so clearly what our young people have the potential to become when we support them by believing in them and their dreams. Wayne County has so much to offer by way of the arts, and the remarkable artistic talent of so many of our young people is a critical part of that rich culture.” One of those young people, Chrishani Pleasant, from Mumford High School when asked about the value of participating in this exhibition said, “Showing my work at the DIA is like saying my creativity matters. Being included in this exhibition has given me a platform where people from everywhere can show interest in the stories I have to tell.”
To Chrishani, and all the artists in this beautiful and powerful show, we want you to know that your stories matter, and the DIA is here to help you tell those stories. Moreover, July is a month where fresh perspectives and diverse stories will radiate from all DIA spaces in an extraordinary variety of artistic forms. This July (16-24) we celebrate the 30th year of Concert of Colors which returns live and outdoors. The DIA and its lawn will be the center stage for this global and free concert under the Detroit sun. We have worked closely with Ismael Ahmed, who passionately established this amazing event in 1993, to make our museum a crucial platform for this celebration of creativity in collaboration with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Scarab Club, and the Michigan Science Center. I love the Concert of Colors poster illustration for this year with a unicorn encircled by the words culture, justice, equity, and diversity.
The roster of national and international artists is phenomenal and includes performers from Kyiv (Ukraine), the celebrated singer and song writer Alejandro Escovedo, the singer, composer, educator and performer Martha Redbone known for her unique mix of folk, blues, and gospel, as well as a full representation of Detroit’s Caribbean artistic community, among many others.
Whether a high school art exhibition or the performing arts, the arts are such an important part of Detroit’s culture. As the DIA continues to be more than a museum, we are thrilled to closely partner with our local schools as well as with Concert of Colors, which promises to deliver what it will be the event of the year in our beloved city.