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The Detroit Institute of Arts Added 463 Works of Art To Its Collection in 2020 – WDET




Sphae” (undated) by Mavis Pusey — one of the 463 acquisitions made by the Detroit Institute of Arts this year. PICTURED ABOVE: “Reading the Fate of the Christ Child” (1667) by Josefa de Óbidos.

The Detroit Institute of Arts acquired 463 works of art this year.

While the vast majority of those acquisitions were gifts to the museum, about $3.5 million of the museum’s restricted funds were spent to acquire 24 works of art, including work by groundbreaking abstract artist Mavis Pusey and landscape painter Thomas Cole among others.

The acquisitions included contributions to the DIA’s Native American collection, including mixed media work by Jaune Quick-to­See Smith and other new works by women artists.

In a press release, director Salvador Salort-Pons pointed out the need to diversify the DIA’s collections as museums around the country faced a racial reckoning in 2020, focused on a lack of diversity in whose artwork hangs in their galleries and who works in the front offices.

Museum collections are not static; they are dynamic and evolving,” said Salort-Pons in a statement. “We see artworks through new lenses in today’s world. As we work to serve new audiences and create a more inclusive society, it is important to leverage acquisitions to evolve our collection to better mirror our community.”

Highlights of the DIA’s artwork acquisitions this year can be found here.

Exterior of the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit.Jake Neher/WDET

Jake Neher/WDET

Exterior of the Detroit Institute of Arts in Detroit.

The acquisitions are a highlight for the museum this year alongside news of more than $10 million in commitments to operating endowment and the passage of a tri-county millage in March

Alongside the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), which saw its longtime executive director ousted, the DIA had a rocky summer.

It started in July with a whistleblower complaint that alleged a conflict of interest as to how a painting was acquired. Following a three-month review, an outside law firm found no wrongdoing.

Shortly after, DIA staffers called for the resignation of Salort-Pons, alleging a “toxic work environment and ignoring the voices of workers of color,” according to a report in the Detroit Free Press. Following the report, the museum announced the hiring of a national firm to lead a new “inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility initiative.”

In November, the DIA opened a new exhibit dedicated to Detroit’s car culture heritage as well as the autoworkers who helped build them.

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Online art course with Adrian Baker – Millstone News



NEW! Appleton Studio – online ‘ART MENTORING’ course

Instructor: Adrian Baker, BFA, MFA

Want to keep making art this winter, but could use a little guidance? I’m offering personal feedback sessions by email, one-on-one online meetings, and online group feedback sessions. Work on your own projects in your choice of medium, under the guidance of a professional artist. Receive valuable feedback from your peers. Flexible scheduling to suit your routine.

‘Art Mentoring’ runs from the week of January 18th to March 26 (choose your own times/days).

Cost is $180

What you get:

– Weekly personal assessment of your current art project via email, with constructive critiques and professional guidance. (eight sessions)

– One-on-one online meetings to discuss the progress of your work (six sessions)

– Online group feedback sessions with fellow participants (two sessions)

– Regular links to online painting tutorials relevant to your work.

What you do:

– Choose a project to work on in your choice of medium. Your first email session can be a discussion of what to paint, how to get started, colour & compositional decisions, etc.

– Photograph your artwork regularly as it progresses over the ten weeks and send the pictures by email for feedback from the instructor, for a total of eight email instructional sessions.

– Schedule six one-on-one meetings with instructor over the 10-week period (schedule of available days/times will be provided)

– Participate in two online group critiques (coffee, tea or wine are optional!)

– Have fun! Be creative! Keep on making art!

I am accepting a limited number of participants, so let me know asap if you are interested.

To register, or for more information:

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Are phone skills a lost art? Time to get back to basics say East Coast Experts –



The family phone used to be a hot commodity and phone time a valuable resource.

Waiting until evening rates to place a long-distance phone call to a friend or family member could easily take up a Saturday night. But these days, a person can reach virtually everyone they know instantly, with a few swipes of their fingertips.

Smartphones and technology have ushered in an age of texting, emailing, and messaging communication within both personal and professional aspects of many people’s lives. And with these forms of communication, there’s less need for speaking person-to-person over a voice call.

But this doesn’t mean the phone is on its way out, even if people might be finding increasing anxiety around phone calls, according to Mary Jane Copps, whose professional business, The Phone Lady, fosters connections between people and phone conversations.

Even if video calls are the new fad, Copps says voices are still what brings people together.

“The medium may change as technology continues evolving, but phone and voice calls are here to stay,” she says.

In general

Copps says comedian Jerry Seinfeld wasn’t kidding when he quoted a statistic in a stand-up routine that said people feared public speaking more than death itself. She says this feeling is one that many now equate with phone calls.

She says anxiety around phone calls is due to people now being used to the delay that comes with texting or email.

“We can edit and think about it – we don’t have to think of an answer off the top of our head,” she says. “For some people, there’s anxiety around what they see as a performance part of a real-time conversation.”

But even with that anxiety, Dalhousie University communications researcher and professor Dr. Binod Sundararajan says people are still gravitating towards the personal connection that voice provides, pointing to the prevalence of voice message exchanges in smartphone messaging apps.

“People still crave a synchronous connection – a real-time conversation – so they video chat or send voice recordings back and forth on apps like WhatsApp,” he says.

It’s because it lacks voice that Sundararajan says email and texting are “terrible” forms of communication beyond simple exchanges, as they cannot effectively convey true emotion.

And with the stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, an empathetic voice on the other end of the phone could be exactly what is needed to relieve said stress, even if feelings of anxiety precede that call.

“There is so much uncertainty these days. The last thing someone should worry about is how to interpret communication, so asynchronous phone call is the thing that can best alleviate anxiety around this,” he says.

Even as texting and email become the main way people connect, Dalhousie University communication associate professor and researcher Dr. Binod Sundararajan says the prevalent use of voice recordings in messaging apps like Whatsapp points to how people still crave the connection that voice provides. – Contributed

Phones at work

The importance of tone and inflection in the voice, whether virtual or over a phone conversation, is something Copps says plays a key role in professional interactions, even with the advent of video conferencing.

Copps says the past year has shown there are many distractions during virtual meetings that cause those in attendance to miss something or lose their ability to pay attention. While a 15-minute phone call can be “lovely,” she says, a one-hour one is often the opposite.

“Being on camera is exhausting for us,” says Copps. “A lot of people turn off cameras and listen, which is the same as a phone call.”

With phone calls still making up a significant amount of business communication, especially as people work from home, Sundararajan says proper phone etiquette – and specifically knowing how to communicate effectively and empathetically – is as important as written communication.

“Being professional doesn’t mean being cold and aloof – you can have empathy and warmth and still be professional,” he says. “A good phone call goes miles in making people feel respected, acknowledged, and listened to.”

Call it personal

Dalhousie University associate professor Dr. Kathleen Kevany says the allure of voice, along with images it conjures, will ensure the phone remains an important form of communication. - Tyler Colbourne photo - SaltWire Network
Dalhousie University associate professor Dr. Kathleen Kevany says the allure of voice, along with images it conjures, will ensure the phone remains an important form of communication. – Tyler Colbourne photo – SaltWire Network

It’s the allure of voice that means phone calls continue to be an important form of communication, according to Dalhousie University communications associate professor and researcher Dr. Kathleen Kevany, who says voice calls, like radio, are often more intimate than video media.

“Voice alone demands more of us, requires more interaction and imagination … and we like to activate our imagination. It’s why people listen to the radio or read a book,” she says.

This is why Kevany says a phone call remains the most effective and personal way to check in with loved ones and friends, something she says has become critical as COVID-19 keeps many people apart.

“We are in a time of isolation, so the more human connection we can foster, the better for our own wellbeing and others. Reaching out, picking up the phone, and calling someone can make a difference in their day and is much more memorable than receiving a text,” she says.

Sundararajan says the pandemic is perhaps the best example of why people need to fight for the phone and reconnect with feeling comfortable around using it, both personally and professionally. He says the same goes for people receiving a call, who must listen and respect the person who’s reached out.

“Yes it appears that calling someone on the phone is disappearing and yes, we should fight to retain that,” he says.

Connecting younger generations

Feeling comfortable on the phone is something Sundararajan and Copps say young people need to start mastering, as it’s crucial to succeeding in the job market.

Sundararajan says as the first phase of a job interview is often a phone or video call, the skill is critical to landing a job.

Copps has also seen a huge increase in her business since the fall in training professionals in phone communication. She says this is due partially to a lack of phone skills in today’s young professionals.

“Big companies are all really clear that soft skills are the most important thing they now look for, above education. Communication is part of that and it’s something we need to be teaching to kids,” she says.

Kevany, who teaches her students about public speaking and verbal communication, says humans have always felt a great sense of confidence in communicating until faced with presenting. Like presenting, phone calls are a skill she says comes down to practice.

“You learn knowledge, but you cultivate a skill. That goes for public speaking and it also goes for phone calls,” she says.

There is only one way to overcome a fear of the phone, according to Copps.

“You’ve got to pick up the phone and make the call,” she says.


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Trump’s Arts Record, Oval Office Replicas, a Museum Vaccination Site, and More: Morning Links from January 18, 2020 – ARTnews



The Headlines

WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP SET TO LEAVE OFFICE IN ABOUT 48 HOURS, reporter Graham Bowley revisited the president’s repeated proposals to eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. “The agency survived, its budget even grew a bit, not because President Trump ever wavered in his view of it as a waste of federal dollars,” Bowley writes in the New York Times, “but because Congress . . . voted to keep it alive.” Of course, the N.E.A.’s annual budget of $167.5 million (for 2021) is still modest compared to other sources of arts funding, he writes. For instance, New York City alone spends more each year on its cultural affairs. Meanwhile, in the San Francisco ChronicleDenise Sullivan takes a look at the history of president’s supporting arts in an article that stops with President Obama.

Related Articles

SPEAKING OF THE WHITE HOUSE, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is set to enter the Oval Office on Wednesday. If you are not on the shortlist to serve in his administration, but eager to experience the Oval, the New-York Historical Society has just the ticket: it built a replica of the storied space as part of a permanent exhibition titled “Meet the Presidents” last year. Marci Reaven, the vice president of history exhibits at the NYHS, talked with the Art Newspaper about how president’s have customized the room’s decor. Their choices, she said, reflect, “Who am I? Who are we as a people? Who am I as a leader?” Some may recall that photographer Thomas Demand also once built an Oval Office replica out of humble materials like cardboard and confetti to create works for a 2008 Times Magazine story. The room is “tinier than you might think,” he told the Independent in 2009.

The Digest

Many art museums have been hiring diversity leaders in recent years. Here’s a look at the work they have been doing. [The New York Times]

The Castello di Rivoli museum, near Turin, Italy, will serve as a coronavirus vaccination site. “Art has always helped, healed, and cured—indeed, some of the first museums in the world were hospitals,” its director, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, said in a statement. “Now we are repaying the favor, so to speak.” [Artforum]

The critic and law professor Yxta Maya Murray discussed her new novelArt Is Everything, with Maximilíano Durón. “I have found at various points in my life that in order to make work that you have to sacrifice certain things that might be very important to you,” she said. [ARTnews]

The breakout painter Salman Toor was profiled as part of a package of “a dozen of the most creative artists and entertainers working today.” [WSJ. Magazine]

Jorge Pardo’s carriage house in Bushwick, Brooklyn, got the Architectural Digest treatment. [AD]

Canada has an Indigenous-language television channel for the first time: Uvagut TV, which carries programming in Inuktut. [Inuit Art Quarterly]

Sinclair Spratley considered the invisible labor, performed largely by people of color, that was responsible for cleaning the U.S. Capitol after the January 6 riot. [Art in America]

Venture inside Carrie Stettheimer’s famed dollhouse, guided by Johanna Fateman. [4Columns]

Here are the 10 most expensive Old Master artworks ever sold at auction. [ARTnews]

The Kicker

In a conversation published in a new column by Vanessa FriedmanMiuccia Prada and Raf Simons, the co-directors of Prada, discussed the fashion industry, money, the creative process, Zoom, and this period of crisis. “The one lesson I think fashion will not learn from this, which is the one it should learn, if I am being brutally honest, is that it should be less greedy,” Simons said. “It became too much this economic machine. For the majority the first desire is economic growth. Everyone just had less growth, so everyone is going to try to catch up.” [The New York Times]

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