January 8, 2019 (Detroit)—Celebrate Black History Month at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) starting Friday, Feb. 1 with a full day of activities for all ages, including tours of the General Motors Center for African American Art galleries, a panel discussion featuring prominent women in the Detroit art community, a tribute to Aretha Franklin with The Motown Legends Gospel Choir and a college Greek Step competition featuring local fraternities and sororities. Black History Month programs are made possible by the generous support of Arn and Nancy Tellem.

Programs are free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties, unless otherwise noted.

“The programs and tours that are part of our Black History Month celebration give our visitors an opportunity to explore history and culture in ways that can’t be found in books or on television,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA Director.  “We are thankful for the continuing support of Arn and Nancy Tellem, which has allowed us to collaborate with community members to develop dynamic and relevant programs that will connect with all residents of our region.”

Featured Gallery

General Motors Center for African American Art

The DIA’s General Motors Center includes five galleries dedicated to the display of African American art: a 19th century gallery located in the Manoogian Wing of American Art and four galleries in the Modern and Contemporary Art Wing for art created in the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection consists of approximately 570 objects in various media. Among the artists whose art is included and on view in the galleries are Elizabeth Catlett, Robert S. Duncanson, Sam Gilliam, David Hammons, Richard Hunt, Jacob Lawrence, Charles McGee, Betye Saar, Henry O. Tanner, Mickalene Thomas and Kehinde Wiley.

Gallery Activities

Drawing in the Galleries: Friday, Feb. 1, 6–9 p.m.; February 9 & 17, Noon–4 p.m.

Gallery Adventures (family-friendly games and guided activities): Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.

Tours: Tuesdays–Thursdays, 1 p.m.; Fridays, 1, 6 & 7 p.m.; Saturdays–Sundays, 1 & 3 p.m.

General and family friendly tours with an emphasis on the DIA’s African American art collection.

Self-Guided Tours

A brochure is available for visitors to take a self-guided tour of a selection of works by African American artists.

Friday, Feb. 1

Trailblazers: Detroit Women of Art 4–­6 p.m. | Kresge Court

Panel discussion with moderator Anita Bates and panelists Dell Pryor, Shirley Woodson and Cledie Taylor.

Literary Readings with Local Writers and Poets 6:15–9 p.m. | African American Art Galleries

Poetry readings in the GM Center for African American Art.

Tribute to Aretha Franklin with The Motown Legends Gospel Choir 7 p.m. | Detroit Film Theatre

In honor of the late Aretha Franklin and the musical legacy she built on the bedrock of Detroit gospel traditions, the Motown Legends Gospel Choir will perform a recital directed by Joan Belgrave and featuring Rosalind Ashford-Holmes, Annette Beard-Helton (of the original Vandellas) and the great Thornetta Davis.

College Greek Step Show 9:30–10:30 p.m. | Detroit Film Theatre

Two sororities and two fraternities face off in a Greek Step Show extravaganza.

Saturday, Feb. 2

Storytelling: Stories…Stories…Stories: Just What Are Stories?
2 p.m. | Rivera Court

Storyteller Ivory D. Williams explores the meaning and power of stories and their importance within the African American community.

Detroit Film Theatre: “The Gospel According to André” 2 p.m.

Follow the journey from André Leon Talley’s roots in the segregated Jim Crow South to his time as one of the world’s most influential tastemakers and fashion curators.

$ Detroit Film Theatre: “Say Amen, Somebody!” 4:30 & 7:30 p.m. $

A documentary about the pioneers of modern gospel music, featuring Thomas A. Dorsey, Willie Mae Ford Smith, The Barrett Sisters, The O’Neal Twins, Zella Jackson Price and more.

Sunday, Feb. 3

Detroit Film Theatre: “Say Amen, Somebody!” 2 & 4:30 p.m.

See Feb. 2 for description.

Friday, Feb. 8

Friday Night Live! Soundrotation Rearview Mirror Sessions 6 p.m. | Rivera Court

Using multi-media elements with sound-samples and live performance, DJ Duane Powell became a major influence of the underground soul scene in Chicago with his SOUNDROTATION brand. Powell deconstructs the music of today by highlighting musicians of the past such as Chaka Kahn, The Staple Singers, and Quincy Jones. The evening will end with a silent disco featuring Powell as DJ.

Sunday, Feb. 10

The 27th Annual Alain Locke Awards: Carrie Mae Weems 2 p.m.

Photographer and video installation artist Carrie Mae Weems is the international winner of the Alain Locke Award. Weems examines the complex legacy of African American identity, class, and culture in the United States. Her depictions of children, adults, and families in simple settings document and interpret the centuries-old struggle for racial equality, human rights, and social inclusion in America. She will discuss her art and career with the audience. Detroit figurative artist Tylonn Sawyer will receive the local Alain Locke Award. His work focuses on themes of identity, both individual & collective, politics, race, history and pop culture.

The Alain Locke Award will be presented posthumously to David Philpot, renowned master woodcarver.

Literary Readings with Local Writers and Poets 6:15–9 p.m. | African American Art Galleries

See Feb. 2 for description.

Friday, Feb. 15

Friday Night Live! Silent Films by Pioneers of African American Cinema, with Live Score 7 p.m. | Rivera Court

In 1920s Oklahoma, Reverend Solomon Sir Jones produced 16mm films documenting African-American life that captured a cross-section of black society. These films are presented with a live, original score by pianist Alvin Waddles and bassist Marion Hayden.

Saturday–Sunday, Feb. 16–17

Artist Demonstration: Hearts of Donald Calloway Noon–4 p.m. | Prentis Court

Detroit multimedia artist Donald Calloway displays his work and helps visitors create their own art with a heart motif using found objects. Calloway's colorful works are filled with emotion, expression and mystery.

Friday, Feb. 22

Friday Night Live! The Music of J Dilla 7 & 8:30 p.m. | Rivera Court

The music of legendary Detroit hip-hop artist J Dilla has been arranged by composer/conductor Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, performed by musicians from Rebirth.

Saturday–Sunday, Feb. 23–24

Special Performance: The Gratitude Steel Band 2 p.m. | Rivera Court

The Gratitude Steel Band brings musical styles from Calypso to Jazz and Afro-Cuban to Motown.

Literary Readings with Local Writers and Poets 6:15–9 p.m. | African American Art Galleries

See Feb. 1 for description.

Museum Hours and Admission

9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb county residents and DIA members. For all others, $14 for adults, $9 for seniors ages 62+, $8 for college students, $6 for ages 6–17. 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. The DIA’s mission is to create opportunities for all visitors to find personal meaning in art.

Programs are made possible with support from residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.