One of the activities I have been enjoying most as DIA director has been working with our tri-county partners. The DIA team meets three times a year with the Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb County Art Authorities, which work closely with the museum to ensure that we provide the best service possible to their residents. Last Thursday, January 25, after meeting with the Oakland Art Authority, the Oakland County Board of Commissioners invited me to speak to them. I had the opportunity to discuss some of our recent accomplishments from instituting our exciting Strategic Plan to the unveiling of the new Lumin technology that brings 3-D mapping and augmented reality tours to our galleries.


One of the commissioners, Marcia Gershenson, praised the work we are all doing in making the museum a place for everybody, a welcoming "town square" where all are included and represented. I was pleased to specifically underscore how in the last year we established meaningful connections with the Asian communities in Oakland, especially with Indian and Japanese groups, and that we are working to reach out to the Chinese and Korean ones too.


This is very good news because the museum has never engaged so deeply with these groups that are now beginning to feel better represented in the DIA as we get ready to re-install the extraordinary Asian Galleries-the Japan gallery will open this November and those for Indian, Korean, and Chinese art in fall 2018.

We want diverse audiences to come to the DIA and, to support this idea, we have launched an initiative called Reflecting Our Community. We would like the demographics of our visitors to mirror that of the tri-county area. With that in mind, we are approaching our Latino and Arab- American neighbors, among others, to assess how we can better engage with them. Moreover, we are focusing on our region's African American residents, speaking with and listening to them to better understand how the museum can be more attractive to their interests. In fact, we are collaborating with the  Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on exhibitions in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Detroit '67 rebellion. On July 23,  Art of Rebellion: Black Art of the Civil Rights Movement opens at the DIA and opens at the Wright Museum. Further, February is Black History Month and we are partnering with the Detroit Pistons and very generous donors Arn and Nancy Tellem to celebrate the inspiring histories and vibrant futures of African Americans through a number of events at the DIA.

As Commissioner Gershenson said, we are opening the museum to everyone. The DIA welcomes the diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives of all our communities from all corners of the world and incorporate them into the framework of our extraordinary art collection. We identify with the vast multicultural wealth of our society, and the museum brings us all together. This February bring your family and friends and celebrate the Chinese New Year, Black History Month, and Valentine's Day with us.

Salvador Salort-Pons Director Detroit Institute of Arts
Categories:  From The Director