Celebrating our volunteers, fall programs & a generous gift

Last month, the DIA Volunteer Council celebrated its fifty-fifth annual meeting. Guided by Phil Rivera, our director of volunteer services, almost 300 volunteers gathered, first at the DFT for a program and later in Rivera Court and Great Hall for lunch. Phil kindly allowed me to address our volunteers, which gave me an excellent opportunity to thank them for their amazing service and accomplishments for 2016-17. It is not unusual for me to receive comments every week about how welcoming and comfortable people feel at the DIA. A recent email from an out-of-state visitor is a good example:

Dear Sir, I am compelled to write you to say Bravo to the DIA. A friend and I drove to Detroit last week from Illinois to fulfill a long-time dream of visiting the DIA. The museum exceeded our expectations. The design of the exhibitions makes the collections accessible and informative. The docents were wonderful--well-informed, helpful but not overly intrusive. I wish I had made a note of more names. One person whom I do recall is Karen Hemingway. She played a significant role in our day. We hope to return soon.

This note made my day. It certainly describes the impact we want to have on our audiences, and it speaks volumes of the crucial role our volunteers play in our daily operation. Our fall season starts with a very strong exhibition and program schedule, and we are expecting large number of visitors from many of our communities, and I know Phil and the volunteer team are ready to help the museum provide a memorable visitor experience. In October, we will be opening our annual show, Ofrendas: Celebrating el Dia de Muertos, which brings local artists together, creating ofrenda altars, to celebrate the life of close relatives, friends, and community members who have passed away. Because this exhibition has been so widely popular in the past, this year it will be open for four weeks.

I am also very excited about the two new shows featured in our temporary exhibition galleries: Church: A Painter's Pilgrimage and Monet: Framing Life. DIA teams created both exhibitions, which highlight the extraordinary importance of our American and European art collections. The Church display presents the spiritual and creative experience of an artist going on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. This exhibit will travel to other U.S. museums early in 2018. The Monet exhibition will be a unique Detroit experience; our visitors will be immersed in the gardens where the magical Monet established the Impressionist movement. It is the DIA's first exhibition on the artist and includes extraordinary loans from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Furthermore, with the Monet exhibition, we have inaugurated the Bonnie Ann Larson Modern European Masters Series, which is an initiative that will support, among other things, impressionist and modern art exhibitions at the DIA. To fund this initiative, Bonnie Larson has made an extraordinarily generous $5 million donation to the museum's operating endowment. Bonnie is vice chair of our Board of Directors, a long-time volunteer at the DIA, and trained docent. On behalf of the DIA family, thank you so much Bonnie for your passion for this museum, for education, and for helping us all make this a better world.


Salvador Salort-Pons 


Categories:  From The Director