by Kathy Kelsey Foley, director
Who’s ready for an exceptional art experience . . . in Detroit?!
Detroit has been the subject of many recent headlines stemming from its financial woes, which led to an unprecedented bankruptcy filing. Also attracting attention is the news that Detroit’s state-appointed emergency manager has floated the possibility of selling artworks owned by the City and cared for and exhibited by the venerable Detroit Institute of Arts.
Despite all the swirling media attention – much of it real and factual although some designed to roil – Detroit is not only working hard to reinvent itself, but also to attract visitors and change their impressions through firsthand experiences.
I’ve been talking up Detroit as a destination for a Woodson Art Museum members and friends trip for some time. If you traveled with me to Saint Louis or to Tulsa and Bentonville and repeatedly asked “who knew?” as we encountered fabulous museums, architecture, and regional cuisine, or if you’re curious about Detroit’s treasures and promise, you’ll want to block your calendar now for Tuesday, April 29 through Sunday, May 4, 2014.
Details and costs will be available next month. For now, consider these highlights:
- Detroit Institute of Arts: without question, one of the country’s top ten art museums with a collection boasting Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, and Matisse as well as a superb American art collection and dozens of Dutch masterpieces. Diego Rivera’s extraordinary mural wraps around all four walls of the museum’s central atrium and celebrates the interconnectedness of Detroit’s industries.
- Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village: in addition to classic cars, museum displays pay tribute to the spirit of invention and also feature the only existing Dymaxion House, Buckminster Fuller’s 1946 Home of the Future. Greenfield Village’s structures include the two-story bicycle shop where the Wright brothers built their first flying machine and a Menlo Park “complex,” where Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb.
- Shinola: a manufacturing company headquartered in the Argonaut Building, which once housed GM’s design studios, is producing Detroit-made watches . . . the first watch factory to open in America in forty years!
- Pewabic Pottery: studio and school founded in 1903 – designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991 – is known for its iridescent glazes, which grace buildings throughout the country, including the Shedd Aquarium and Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
And, keep in mind that Ann Arbor and Cranbrook are just a stone’s throw from Detroit. The former is home to the University of Michigan and its highly regarded art museum and the latter’s Cranbrook Academy of Art features the Saarinen House, Eliel Saarinen’s Art Deco masterwork designed in the late 1920s and now impeccably restored with original furnishings.
ThirdCoastDaily.com’s travel editor Robert Bundy summed up the “visit Detroit” imperative in a recent column: “. . . If you (want to) enjoy some of the world’s finest art, beautiful parks, magnificent architecture, stunning museums with singular collections, evocative and interesting restaurants and bars, artisanal craft and indefatigable creativity, and a citizenry that is friendly and welcoming, then you really, really need to visit Detroit.”
I think you get the point. I guarantee the Woodson Art Museum’s Detroit and environs itinerary will offer unparalleled at an architecture experiences . . . wonderful dining experiences, too.