Starting the year with local artists and Black History Month

Updated Feb 7, 2023

From the Director
Salvador Salort Pons in a blue suit and tie, stands with his hands folded in front of himself in front of the front steps of the Detroit Institute of Arts

At the start of the new year, I had the privilege of moderating the first Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club (DFABC) meeting of 2023. The gathering doesn’t take place at the historic Noni’s diner anymore, but in one of the magnificent buildings of Marygrove College —Detroit’s architecture and history keeps me learning! The room was packed with Detroit artists, collectors, and art lovers. My wife, Alex, and my daughter, Piper, helped me emcee the event, which included presentations by more than 80 artists from our community. In the audience and among other Detroit top figures, we were honored with the presence of Judy Bowman, a DFABC artist, who is now showing in galleries around the country and has attracted national and international attention for her work.

It was fun to spend time with Henry Harper and Harold Braggs, the leading forces behind the DFABC, and to be back with a group that exudes such positive energy. Joining me were members of the DIA team — Tony Smith, Sharon Harrell, and William Flagg — as well as DIA Board Member Marsha Philpot, aka Marsha Music. It was a heartfelt experience that lasted for more than three hours, and everyone stayed engaged and supportive. We raffled several DIA books including the Van Gogh in America exhibition catalogue, as well as many VIP passes to the show. Later that week, while I was helping the DIA Visitor Experience team on the museum floor, I ran into several DFABC VIP pass winners. We took some fun selfies and talked about the exhibition. In fact, Marsha Philpot let me know recently that some DFABC artists were very inspired by Van Gogh paintings and drawings on view.

Inspiring our visitors is an important outcome of the work the DIA team does. February kicked off Black History Month and our Detroit Film Theater screened the moving and inspiring documentary, The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks. The sold-out program was executed to perfection, and deeply engaged the more than 800 participants. Few places in the world can celebrate global icons like Rosa Parks and Vincent van Gogh the way the DIA does. I am grateful to the DIA staff for their passion and excellence in everything they do. I am, therefore, not surprised that our museum has been nominated for “Best Art Museum” in the 2023 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards, and we need your help to bring it home. Please show your support by clicking the link here and casting your vote! I know our friends from the DFABC will lend a helping hand, they always do.