Bucket List: Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts

Posted in Bucket List, Life Lately
on October 19, 2016

As a proud Michigander, I am thrilled to see the revitalization of Downtown Detroit.  If you live in the area, or are planning a visit, you have to visit the city.  There are so many new businesses, restaurants, and shops.  It’s a beautiful place to be. My sister and I saw that first hand during a visit to a pop up Luke’s Diner in Midtown and an afternoon spent at the DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts).

Detroit Institute of Arts

The DIA is incredibly impressive and beaming with famous pieces of art.  Let me take you on a visual tour of this amazing gem in our city.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!  And, if you’ve never been, hopefully you’ll be inspired to go to the DIA and see for yourself how gorgeous it is.

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First of all, as you approach the entrance to the DIA, you will be consumed with the gorgeous architecture.  There are several fountains and statues as you make your way to the enourmous front doors.

Detroit Institute of Arts

 The first thing you’ll see when you enter the Detroit Institute of Arts, is Thalassa, and she will quite literally take your breath away!

Detroit Institute of Arts

She is a 200 foot tall, 400 pound mythological sea goddess that has traveled from New Orleans to Detroit, and will be on display until March, 2017.

“Thalassa’s face looks upward and her bodice is adorned with imagery of sea creatures, as well as colorful swatches of fabric. The sculpture is made from large linocut prints, hand-colored and mounted on thin plywood for structural support. The underside of the figure is embellished with numerous paper and Mylar hand and laser-cut decorations, and the tentacles are made from rope hung with a variety of paper, cloth and plastic materials.” ~ DIA

She is worth the trip to the DIA alone.  You can read more about her incredible installation here.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The great hall is a sight to behold.  It is lined with armour and doorways and architectural details you will only see in historic buildings such as this.  It is a welcoming entrance into a colorful and inspired oasis here in the city.

Detroit Institute of Arts

We wandered into the Rivera Court, and entered the left corridor after a couple of Van Gogh & Picasso pieces caught our eye.

Detroit Institute of Arts

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Detroit Institute of Arts

 The Modern and Contemporary Art always fascinates me.  I would love to take some paint and brushes and just willy nilly go to town on a canvas…cause that’s what a lot of the pieces appear to be.  While really, they are unplanned strokes of genius.

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The hallways and galleries wind like a visual maze throughout his level of the DIA, with a symphony for the eyes at every turn.

Detroit Institute of Art

The sculpture pieces in the Contemporary Art Gallery are mesmerizing and puzzling in the best of ways.

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And, this piece of “art” really confused us.  It lit up like a Christmas tree and was very odd.

Detroit Institute of Art

The American section of the Institute, is stately and just feels historic. Paintings depicting American history and portraits of the presidents are at every turn.  And the antique furniture made me feel like I was in a very old doll house.  It’s an interesting area of the museum to explore.

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{On a side note: Is it just me, or does this dog look like he wants to kill someone?!  He looks downright nuts.  His wicked eyes made me scared!  I feel sorry for that little girl! ?}

Detroit Institute of Art

As we finished this portion of the art gallery, we stumbled upon my favorite painting, and some gorgeous stained glass window pieces that are breathtaking!

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My favorite painting…

Detroit Institute of Art

I think what I love so much about this painting is that it draws you in.  It feels third dimensional and deep, like I could just walk right into the image and enjoy that sunset and listen to the waterfall from atop one of those cliff’s ledges.

I love how art can transport you to beautiful places, and engage all the senses.  Sometimes a trip to an art museum is just as relaxing to me as a massage at the spa.

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We saw a few more lovely things as we made our way to the Cafe for a rest.

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I found this painting of the snow so engaging.  Knowing that Michigan will be blanketed with beautiful snow in just a few short months, made me appreciate the beauty and subtle essence of this piece even more.  The attention to detail of every speck of snowflake, made me feel the crispness in the air and the magic that accompanies falling snow.

{Ask me in February how I feel about snow and you may get a different outlook!}

Detroit Institute of Art

And, is there anything more lovely than ivory sculptures?  The elegant draping and exquisite detail just astounds me.   They look like they could come alive at any moment.

Detroit Institute of Art

I couldn’t wait to show my sister the Cafe in the DIA.  I honestly think it’s one of the best kept secrets in the city.  The space is filled with light and character…the perfect place to relax, enjoy a coffee, and read or write.  It’s just incredible.

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We sat in the courtyard in the wire chairs and enjoyed some Black Cherry Sodas over ice.  They do serve Starbucks coffee, wine, and various snacks.  It is beaming with history and charm.  It got all my creative juices flowing.  I could see myself sitting here blogging over a latte one day.  But, I’d probably have a hard time not taking photos of this beautiful space.  I mean look at that light…

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We explored the European, Medieval, & Renaissance Galleries before leaving for the day.  This section felt very ancient and church-like.

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Overall, it was an incredible day with my sister.  If you are planning a trip to the DIA and you live in southeast Michigan you may get free admission like we did.  If you live in Oakland, Macomb, or Wayne county you just need to show your I.D. to enjoy the museum free of charge!

Hope you enjoyed this visually rich post of this very special day.  What places do you like to explore in your city?

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