Letter from the Director, December 2022
Every year, the DIA’s busiest day falls on the Friday following Thanksgiving, and 2022 was no exception! In fact, the museum welcomed almost 6,000 visitors on November 25. Most of our guests came to see our Van Gogh exhibition – Van Gogh in America. Over the course of the last few months, this fabulous show has attracted visitors from across the globe – from every single state in the United States to Tasmania. My parents even made a special trip from Spain to experience Van Gogh. Walking through the galleries over the weekend, I was excited to hear so many languages, meet so many new people, and feel the museum buzz with excitement. While it was very busy, the museum felt particularly welcoming, and I am very grateful to all the team members who worked during the Thanksgiving holiday. They did an outstanding job making everyone comfortable and informed with a friendly touch. It was simply excellent teamwork. Thank you!
One of the Van Gogh in America show takeaways is the fact that the DIA was the first civic museum in the US to acquire a painting by Van Gogh in 1922.Thanks to the expertise of our curatorial team, we continue to do strong art collecting and two amazing exhibitions currently at the DIA illustrate it at the highest level: Conscious Response, Photographers showing the way we see; and Printmaking in the Twenty First Century. Drawn from our collection and carefully organized by DIA curators Nancy Barr and Clare Rogan, respectively, these exhibitions are outstanding examples of a critical eye for art quality and a keen understanding of relevant artwork to our audiences.
In the museum you can both look at and create art. Over the weekends the DIA team offers art making programs in the studio (drop-in workshops) and in the galleries (drawing in the galleries). These are fun and accessible art making experiences for all ages (and all materials are provided), and our studio team often partners with a guest artist. I recently stopped by to see our program in collaboration with artist Katie Bramlage, who helped and inspired our visitors to create mini totems. In her words, “totems are a call to slow down and to give thanks to your ‘cave’ – your shelter from the ‘storm’”. The program was so popular that Alex Gilford, Studio Manager, Zak Freiling, Studio Coordinator, Toni Miller, Studio Assistant, all on duty during that weekend mentioned to me that guests were, at times, waiting in line outside the Studio.
As we head into the new year, I’d like to thank the DIA team for their amazing work and especially the Studio team and the artists who collaborate with them for providing uplifting opportunities to slow down and work creatively with our hands. Slowing down and working with my hands are two things I am adding to the top of my 2023 to-do list. I hope you will too.