Because It Matters.

I know, I know, I have not posted in AGES!  But it is summer vacation and soon I will have a “What I Did on My Summer vacation” post, but right now there is something a bit more important.

As everyone knows, Detroit is bankrupt.  Financially is the proclamation for now, but bankruptcy of a different kind has taken place long before that.  The people of Detroit have suffered from a decline in self-esteem, worth, value and significance brought on by corruption, racism, poverty and neglect.  Now I am not here to step further on top of what many shout out as the hell hole of America.  Quite the opposite.  I will be the first to shout out about all the beautiful places in Detroit.  The smaller, magical spots that people overlook and the grander more obvious places.  One of those places is my favorite place in Detroit.  A place I take others, or get lost in all by myself.  A place that fills my eyes with delight and in a turn brings tears to my eyes.  Good tears.  The DIA.  Never been there?  My header is looking out onto Woodward from the front steps, just look around “Le Penseurs” buttocks.

You don’t have to be an artist to appreciate all the beauty and mastery dating from primitive times until now.  There is something there for everyone, every age, every mood, every heart.  because of that, it is in integral place in the heart of Detroit.  Its architecture alone is a gem in a neglected mine that is being dusted off and re cultivated.  A bright spot in the gray matter.

It hurts my heart in a way that no metaphor can mimic to think that any of these valuable pieces of history could be sold to pay for someone elses mismanagement.  The DIA did not mismanage, the city did.  I’d like to say that I get it, but I don’t.  I get that if I was a retired or current city employee I would be pensive, to say the least.  But I will never “get” that the idea of taking what is great, from a city that was once GREAT to raise it to mediocre is the only option.

I am hardly an eloquent speaker of what art means, but I can tell you it must mean something since the cavemen were creating it way before our more refined versions ever arrived.  it was there before words and numbers. It was there to tell stories, to celebrate and to document history.  The DIA is an enclave of history, stories and celebrations.  it is one of the most important places to help this city to raise to GREAT again, and when things in this city are valued by the city, then people start to value the city and when that happens everyone starts valuing the city, and when I mean the city, I mean everyone in it.

Never been?  Here is what you are missing….

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Seriously, Calder, Kandinsky, Rivera, Rothko, Warhol, Van Gogh, Matisse and Detroit’s own Charles McGee…what are you waiting for?  Go, give your heart a lift, give the city a lift and for goodness sake, if art is the greatest asset to the city, make it a great asset to you.

Happy Birthday to ME!

This past Saturday was my birthday. I’ll give you a minute to put it in your calendar so you don’t forget next year.  Go ahead, I’ll wait….That’s it June 16th….Great!  Can’t wait to see what you get me next year!  This year, however, my husband took me to the Detroit Institute of Arts to view the Patti Smith photo exhibit and take a pottery wheel throwing class.  I have never done pottery before and absolutely loved it.  It was so meditative and therapeutic.  Very much like yoga, and yes, absolutely no ego allowed!

 

The day began with the Patti Smith exhibit.  Her images evoked emotion and when you read the back drop of her photographs, like all art, you can appreciate it all the more.  No photography was allowed in the exhibit, but I found the one that was most emotive for me.

Jim Carroll’s Bed

Seemingly quite benign, but the this photo was taken a couple of days after September 11, 2009, the day he died.  His bed just slept in and unmade.  It brought tears to my eyes.

However, everything gets a bit more cheerful after that.  I, of course documented the highlights of the day for you and for me.

Matisse brings joyful tears to my eyes.  Seriously.

One of my favorite paintings at the DIA.

One of my top three favorite artists, although not one of my favorite pieces by him.

The above and below are pieces by Charles MCGee, a Detroit artist, and a very lovely gentleman.  I had the pleasure of working with him when I worked at a private art gallery.  Feels like quite an honor to have worked with him.

Vince hits right under Henri Matisse for me.  I try to emulate and copy him (you did notice the name of my blog, right?) but never succeed.  Just amazing.

 

Am I the only one who wants to start whistling right now?

The painting that Patti Smith spoke of in an interview I read about the exhibit….

coloring outside the lines….

My wheel creations, painted, unglazed and yet to be fired.  We have to wait like TWO WHOLE WEEKS!  Reminds me of what it was like to be a kid waiting for Christmas…

This is Eric’s creation.

Thanks to I-94 construction, we had a nice scenic detour en route to our hotel…..

View from my hotel window…a good, good birthday.

F2

F2?  Whats that?  Is it like Mach 5?  or G6?  No, silly!  It stands for First Fridays.  And that was what just happened in Adrian.  Well, everywhere, honestly, its not like no one else experienced a first Friday or anything, but let me explain.  Adrian, Michigan is where I just moved from.  Its a fair sized city in a rural county in southeastern Michigan.  Close to Ohio, but close to Ann Arbor, as well.  It has had its struggles through out the years, especially with the downtrodden economy and being in a rural area, especially so.  However, First Fridays is a way to illuminate the downtown Adrian merchants, area artists, local cuisine and an all out way to celebrate.  I am sure you have heard of it.  Detroit Institute of Art does them, Toledo Museum of Art does it, I mean why not a community?

In order to make this happen, you need a few key ingredients; planners and doers.  And we have them!  As I said before I moved away from Adrian about 7 months ago, but i am still the active President of the Lenawee Council for Visual Arts.  Also known as the person who know s a lot of artists.  So I helped out, in my own small way to get this thing going.  I was not able to be there for the whole night as the distance made it hard to get there early, but I got to experience a lot of the goodness happening.  Not too long ago I blogged about the Pewabic Pottery Empty Bowls event.  Well on this night, there was an Empty Cups event in one of the businesses, Classic Cabinets.  It was my first time in the showroom and I was really impressed.  I apologize in advance for my photos-I used my droid and I used a fun app called Retro camera.  Not the best of photos, but here is a peek at the Empty Cups.

And since we are on the subject of Empty Cups, I discovered a new microbrewery in Adrian!  This is totally new, the city has never had anything like this and it tastes good!  Its headed up by Mr Cotton, his wife and a couple of cronies.  I believe Mr Cotton’s first name is Jake (?)  and our servers name was Keith.  How do I remember his name so well?  because they served up free samples!  If you join their Founders Club, they will even create a beer just for you!  Crazy right?  And there was a gentleman serving up free samples of a delicious spanish wine.   You can see why I was not able to hit every spot in town, right?

Mr Cotton on the left and Keith in the middle!

Their logo and a description of one of their beers, the Blue Cactus Agave, my favorite!

And the wine.  Now that I think about it, maybe our servers name was not Keith…..If you did not make it to the first F2, there is another one coming for April, this one a bit more kid friendly and family oriented.  The planning is happening right now and I hope you decide to give it a try!