DETROIT — To help accommodate people with transportation issues, the Detroit Institute of Arts will be hosting its annual Wayne County Day, in which the renowned museum will be providing free transportation to and from the institution.
Wayne County Day will take place on Saturday, April 22. There will be five locations around Wayne County where people can get free bus rides to the DIA. Admission to the museum is free for Wayne County residents.
“County Day is an opportunity for residents to come down to the museum by free bus trips,” said DIA Community Relations and Program Manager Jillian Reese. “We will be doing it now in the spring and again in the fall. Through an evaluation of the museum and the community, we saw that a big barrier for people using the museum was transportation and parking. Since 2012, we’ve offered periodic bus trips, which leave from different spots from around the county. We also have an Oakland County Day and a Macomb County Day for the same reasons.”
Local community organizations are enthusiastic about the opportunities provided by Wayne County Day. Kayana Sessoms, program director for the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, said that the group is trying to get the word out and encourage residents to take advantage of the program.
“It’s a good program because it provides transportation for people with difficulties getting around,” said Sessoms. “They can attend these community events that otherwise they could not. The DIA has always served as a great partner with the Osborn Neighborhood Alliance, and we really want to continue that partnership and help provide help for a great resource.”
The pickup times and locations will be 10 a.m. at River Rouge City Hall in River Rouge; 10 a.m. at the Allen Park Community Center in Allen Park; 9:30 a.m. at the Northville Community Center in Northville; 9:30 a.m. at the Westland Public Library in Westland; and 10 a.m. at the Matrix Center in Detroit.
Those who wish to take part will need to register by calling (313) 833-4005 or by going online to tickets.dia.org.
“For most people who take advantage of County Day, it’s their first visit to the museum,” Reese said. “This is our opportunity to introduce ourselves to a lot of folks.”
Reese assured those considering taking part that there will be plenty to see and do at the museum on Wayne County Day.
“We have a lot of stuff to do once they’re there,” she said. “Saturday is always family day at the DIA. We have programs such as public tours, drop-in studio workshops, art carts where people can have a hands-on program for kids making clay mosaic or painting.”
One factor that led to this program being possible was the approval of the tri-county millage in 2012, which provides funding through taxes to the DIA.
“This is done by benefit of the millage in 2012,” said Reese. “One of the things the tri-county millage allows us to do is offer all sorts of free programming to all members of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb County. Because the millage passed, we can give free transport to seniors and bring in field trips. The support from the counties has allowed us to increase our reach out and provide services to tri-county residents.”
Transportation can be a strong impediment to taking advantage of cultural or community events and resources. It is one that the DIA is trying to find ways to work around through events such as Wayne County Day.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents at no cost to embrace some of the cultural activities provided by the DIA, enjoy some of what downtown Detroit has to offer and maybe even meet some new people,” remarked Sessoms. “Providing increased access to downtown for those in our area is incredibly important, especially since the Regional Transportation Authority measure wasn’t approved in the election last year. Making sure resources such as the DIA are available to everyone is incredibly important.”