There is a celebration taking place at the Detroit Institute of Arts, a celebration of Black cultures. What you will find at the DIA during this month is far better than anything you could find in an art history textbook.

Paul Wong
Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

As you enter the Modern and Contemporary Galleries, you”ll find over 20 19th and 20th century paintings and prints. The colors are so vivid and the images are so eye-catching it”s absolutely wonderful.

You”ll find abstract, impressionistic and realist paintings by internationally known artists including Hale Woodruff, Benny Andrews, Charles McGee, Hughie Lee-Smith, Allie McGhee, Jacob Lawrence and Romere Bearden.

Bearden”s 1983 painting of a woman playing a piano is the work that inspired the 1990 Pulitzer Prize winning play “The Piano Lesson,” by August Wilson. This colorful and abstract painting is a powerful asset to the collection.

If you want to do more than merely look at paintings and prints, the DIA offers many other options during this month. You could listen to Miz Rosie tell both creative African and African-American folk tales on Saturday, Feb. 24th at 2 p.m.

Last Sunday, there was a lecture on Africa”s Legacy in American Art given by Barry Gaither, the founder of the Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists in Boston. He provided historical perspective on the impact of African art on 20th century African-American artists.

Another noteworthy experience can be found in the captivating video shown continuously this month titled “African American Artists: Affirmation Today.” In this video, several African-American artists who are working today discuss their work and their inspirations.

Whether you are an expert on African-American culture or just want to learn more about the amazing world of contemporary African-American Art, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunities that the DIA is offering to celebrate African-American culture.

The DIA is located at 5200 Woodward in Detroit. It is open Wednesday thru Friday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Don”t miss out.

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