Detroit Institute of Arts Is a Rare Gem in a City That Has Struggled for a Long Time
It’s a curious thing to consider. The city once prided itself on its vibrant arts scene, but decades of neglect have left the city’s art buildings decaying or vacant. One by one most have closed, including two of the area’s most impressive: the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) and Detroit Institute of Arts Annex. Both institutions have been given over to commercial use, and DIA’s building has been converted into apartments.
And while this is the result of decades of disinvestment, recent years have seen a rejuvenation of the art scene in Detroit. The DIA was once one of the most important art institutions in the city. Today, the building is a commercial gallery space.
The story of the art life in Detroit has a long and complex history. Many of the city’s great institutions — including the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Ann Arbor Art Museum (formerly Ann Arbor Museum of Art), University of Michigan Museum of Art, University of Michigan, and several local art galleries — no longer exist. The remaining institution largely serves a different purpose.
In this video, Art Detroit’s Executive Director, Jodi Brown, discusses the impact the art scene in Detroit has had on the community and the city itself.
While many are eager to celebrate historic sites that have been restored to their former glory, we must also recognize the fact that not all history is written in stone. The DIA is just one example of a building that has suffered from neglect.
The DIA’s role in Detroit’s cultural landscape is long-reaching, and not just because of its role as a repository for Detroit’s art. The DIA also houses an archive of the city’s arts and culture for public and private use; helps