September 23, 2017

Detroit Institute of Arts and the Scarab Club

The Detroit Institute of Arts risked having its marvelous art assets sold off to pay the city’s debts in 2014. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and the DIA kept its collections intact thanks to nearly a billion dollars in rescue money from private donors and the state of Michigan.

The jewel of the museum is Rivera Court covered with murals by Mexican artist, Diego Rivera.  Other notable collections are The General Motors Center For African American Art, The James Pearson Duffy Department of Contemporary Art and notable paintings by American and European artists.

Current special exhibits include, Dance! American Art 1830-1960, ending on June 12, 2016 and a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio on view until April 3, 2016. The treasured tome is open to the play Hamlet and contains the famous “To be or not to be” passage.

The cafeteria, CafeDIA, is quite good, but the most stunning spot for refreshment is Kresge Court, a glass-ceilinged courtyard that contains various seating arrangements that include sofas, chairs, tables and bar stools. Light bites, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and Starbucks coffee drinks are available. I had a baby kale and root vegetable salad that was delicious.

Admission is $12.50, but free for residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. The DIA is located on the Wayne State campus along with other notable Detroit museums.

http://www.dia.org

In back of the DIA is the Scarab Club, Detroit’s over-a-hundred-year-old Arts & Crafts style cultural club that features art exhibits, chamber music concerts, lectures, sketching sessions with live models plus dance and yoga classes. Chamber concerts feature dynamite musicians and a Pleyel grand piano from 1870.

The property also includes a third floor with six working art studios and a small outdoor garden. If you like Arts & Crafts architectural details, the Scarab Club deserves a visit. Don’t miss the autographed and artistically embellished ceiling beams on the second floor. Signatures include Diego Rivera, Norman Rockwell and Marcel Duchamp, among many others.

http://scarabclub.org/

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