PICTURED (from left) are the Honorable Charles W. Anderson III, Sharon Madison (event chair) Gail Ross, Rodney Howell, Laydell Wood Wyatt, Paralee Day and Dr. Robert E.L. Perkins.
As a longtime member of the City of Detroit Arts Commission and a member and honorary director of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA), I take great pleasure in recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the DIA’s Friends of African and African American Art auxiliary.
In 1962, a group of art lovers came together to establish the DIA Founders Society’s African Art Gallery Committee. This new auxiliary, headed by Arthur D. Coar, was dedicated to the support and enrichment of the museum’s African collection. In 1992, the group broadened its mission to assist the museum in strengthening its African American art collection in addition to working to enhance the DIA’s collection of African art. It officially changed its name to the Friends of African and African American Art (FAAAA). This DIA auxiliary is today one of the museum’s oldest and most highly regarded organizations of its kind.
FAAAA’s mission is to raise funds to purchase significant works of art created by African, African American and other artists of the diaspora. Additionally, FAAAA plays a vital role in introducing young people to art and educating them through the many programs, tours, lectures and special exhibitions offered throughout the year.
FAAAA is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a yearlong series of events beginning Saturday, Sept. 15, and culminating with its signature annual fundraiser, Bal Africain© on June 15, 2013. Included in the anniversary celebration will be lectures on African American art, African art and art of the African diaspora. Among the events planned, but not yet finalized, are tours of collectors’ homes and an art auction.
On Saturday, Sept. 15, FAAAA hosts “The Summer of ’62,” a tribute to the year FAAAA was established as The African Art Gallery committee. This event is at 7 p.m. at the DIA. There will be a strolling supper and dancing, and guests are encouraged to dress in 1962 “cocktail glamour.” Over the years, I have attended many events given by FAAAA.
They have always been unique and wonderful – a good time raising money for a very good cause. If you’ve never experienced one of their spectacular parties, I urge you to attend what promises to be an exciting launch to a year-long celebration. I’m sure it will bring back fond memories to many of us who enjoyed the music and fashions of 1962.
Tickets are $150 each, with patron tickets at $500 for two people. Tickets can be purchased by calling (313) 833-4005 or at tickets.dia.org. Proceeds support FAAAA’s work on behalf of the DIA.