Friends of African and African-American Art

Celebrating the artistic legacy of indigenous Africans and peoples of African Diaspora in the Americas

A visitor standing in front of "Something You Can Feel" by Mickalene Thomas
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One of the DIA’s oldest auxiliaries, the Friends of African and African American Art originated as the African Art Gallery Committee in 1962. Marc Crawford, Arthur D. Coar and Willis F. Woods were the founders. The first chairman and vice-chairman were Arthur D. Coar and Governor G. Mennen Williams, respectively. Our initial mission was to acquire art for the establishment of a new gallery dedicated to the traditional art of Africa. By the late 1980s, the auxiliary's purview had been expanded to include African American art and we officially became The Friends of African and African American Art (FAAAA) in 1992.

We are committed to raising public awareness and appreciation for the artistic legacy of indigenous Africans and peoples of the African Diaspora. We serve as catalysts to ensure that these outstanding artistic contributions will be enjoyed and valued by future generations.

FAAAA is well known for its outstanding and innovative programs and events planned in conjunction with the DIA's curatorial staff. Each year, we honor individuals who have demonstrated dedication to the promotion and understanding of African American culture at our Alain L. Locke Awards program. The Margaret Herz Demant Award for African Art is presented yearly to a distinguished scholar for their contributions to the study, collecting, and appreciation of African art.

Some of FAAAA’s most successful past events include Bal African, historically one of Detroit’s premier fundraising events, as well as Hot in Havana, a celebration of Afro-Cuban culture. Revenue generated from such events is used to sponsor educational programs, such as lectures, and to acquire works of art for the DIA’s African and African American art collections. Since its inception, FAAAA has contributed to the acquisition of over 60 works of art for the museum’s collection.

Membership Benefits

  • Enhance your knowledge of African and African American art
  • Contribute to the growth of the DIA's African and African American art collections
  • Network with other art enthusiasts
  • Attend lectures by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists and art scholars
  • Attend select FAAAA events and receptions at reduced or no cost
  • Visit private and public collections and artists' studios locally and nationally
  • Participate in Bal Africain®, FAAAA's annual fundraising event

Join/Renew Membership

In order to be eligible for membership in FAAAA, you must be a member of The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Executive Committee

  • President Roderick Hardamon
  • Vice-President Tiffany Jackson
  • Treasurer, vacant
  • Membership, Asmaa Walton
  • Secretary, Sherida Dubose Parsons


  • Conrad Egyir
  • David Whitaker
  • Jerome Watson
  • Gerry Hargrove
  • Katrenia L. Camp
  • Jon Croel
  • Julie Egan


  • Reuben Munday
  • Juliette Okotie-Eboh
  • Nettie Seabrooks
  • Barbara Whittaker


  • Hon. Charles W. Anderson, III
  • Paralee Day
  • Dexter Fields
  • Ellen H. Kahn
  • Vivian Pickard

DIA Staff

  • Valerie Mercer, Curator and Head of the Center for African American Art
  • Nii O. Quarcoopome, Ph.D: Co-Chief Curator & Department Head- Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas
  • Azzah Smith, Auxiliary Officer, Development
  • Rachel Higinbotham, Administrative Assistant, Arts of Africa, Oceania and Indigenous Americas

GM Center for African-American Art: 313-833-4004

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