All aboard to the DIA

By: Cari DeLamielleure-Scott, Elizabeth Scussel | C&G Newspapers | Published April 20, 2015


OAKLAND COUNTY — On May 9, residents can catch a free ride to and from the Detroit Institute of Arts as part of the museum’s County Days program.

The program, which is provided four times a year for tri-county residents, is a good opportunity for people to get downtown and see a return on their investment, explained Thomas Guastello, chair of the Oakland County Art Institute Authority.

The investment was the 2012 voter-approved, 10-year, 0.2-mill levy to provide free DIA admission for Wayne, Macomb and Oakland County residents.

Two free exhibitions are available for viewing during the Oakland County Day. The first is “Photographs from the Detroit Walk-in Portrait Studio,” by Corine Vermeulen, and the second is “Make a Joyful Noise: Renaissance Art and Music at Florence Cathedral.”

Visitors can also tour the collection, see Rembrandt’s “Self Portrait with Shaded Eyes,” which is on loan from the Leiden Collection in New York, and make their own art in the DIA Studio.

Kathryn Diamond, community relations director of the DIA, said the DIA Studio is part of the free admission, and residents can “literally drop in and create something.”

Also showcased is the ticketed exhibition “Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit.” The exhibit offers eight of Rivera’s preparatory drawings for the Detroit Industry Murals and 23 pieces by Kahlo, whose work has never before been shown at the DIA.

Guastello explained that this exhibit illustrates the industrialization of America and the role that Detroit played. Art, he said, is an integral ingredient for every society.

“It’s really a window into our culture. It shows who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be,” he said, explaining that at the DIA, people can explore at their own pace, and they can always find something different. “And there’s no test afterward.”

Guastello explained that the free rides are not only convenient for residents, but they are also great for creating a sense of community.

When the millage was passed, Diamond said, the DIA reached out to residents for feedback, and access to the museum was a key issue. Last year, the DIA ran County Days once in the summer and once in the fall. And because of the service’s success, it was expanded, making it a quarterly event.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to explore Detroit, to celebrate the museum,” Diamond said.

Because communities in southeast Michigan have invested in the DIA, either through the millage or the bankruptcy process, Diamond said, County Days are a way of “investing back into the community and making this opportunity available to people to see what they’re supporting.”

Diamond said those who are attending County Days can also tour the Cultural Center Historic District in addition to the DIA. However, she added, residents must make sure they board the buses at the assigned time.

Round trip transportation is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a spot, call (313) 833-4005 or visit

Oakland County locations include:

• The Diversion Street Bridge, located at Diversion and South streets in Rochester. The bus will depart the bridge parking lot at 10 a.m. and leave the DIA at 2:30 p.m.

• The Novi Civic Center, located at 45175 10 Mile Road in Novi. The bus will depart the Civic Center at 10 a.m. and leave the DIA at 2 p.m.

• The Karl Richter Community Center, located at 300 East St. in Holly. The bus will depart the Community Center at 9:30 a.m. and leave the DIA at 2 p.m.

• The Clarkston Independence District Library, located at 6495 Clarkston Road. The bus will depart the library at 9:30 a.m. and leave the DIA at 2 p.m.

• Commerce Township Hall, located at 2009 Township Drive in Commerce Township. The bus will depart Township Hall at 9:30 a.m. and leave the DIA at 2 p.m.

• Walled Lake City Hall, located at 1499 E. West Maple Road in Walled Lake. The bus will depart City Hall at 10 a.m. and leave the DIA at 2:30 p.m.

For more information about the DIA, visit

Staff Writer K. Michelle Moran contributed to this report.