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The educated get it

Now that I am a simply a visitor to the DIA, one who happens to have a lot of background knowledge, I must say that the article by freelance writer Christina Hill was clearly one person's viewpoint on a subject about which she is very uneducated ("Lowering the barre," Metro Times, Jan. 10).

Christina made unreasonable and uneducated comparisons, she was inappropriately accusatory and her information was clearly not researched. Unfortunately, I am not able to point out every blasphemous statement, because the article is riddled with them. Although, I will say the DIA has spent thousands of dollars to research its visitors and has benchmarked the research against other museums. The curators and educators use the research to help guide (not dictate) decisions to create a better museum that all museum visitors can enjoy.

If Christina wanted to write a well-rounded article, she would have noted that the museum will have a comfortable balance of highly interpretative galleries and galleries that are purely art and label.

As the DIA continues to roll-out the new museum and Metro Times continues to write about it, I encourage your staff to become better educated on why the museum does what it does and how it makes its decisions. Your readers are very important to the institution and it is your responsibility to them to represent the museum accurately. —Peter Van Dyke, Detroit (former DIA communications coordinator)

 

Children like it

Dear Christina Hill: I read with interest your article about the exhibits at the DIA and the use of special props to "enhance" visitors' enjoyment of these exhibitions. I thought the use of the ballet studio in the Degas exhibition was a good way in which to capture a young person's attention. It also was a source of entertainment and amusement for those of us who were onlookers and who didn't participate in raising our legs to the barre. Children appreciate those little extras to help them remember and appreciate the reason, and the way in which an artist portrays his subjects. Just as a long play has an intermission, it's sometimes a relief to have a welcome break in an art museum's exhibition gallery. —Sue Tushman, Southfield (DIA docent 1990-2002)

 

Carpet call

Well, color me shocked, though pleasantly so: The almighty, god-like John Conyers is actually not getting a free ride from Metro Times ("Booby reprise," Metro Times, Jan 10). I had always wondered why Mr. Conyers always seemed to get a get-out-of-jail free card from your paper. (That he was as occasional guest columnist didn't go unnoticed, either.) But now that he's at least been called out on the carpet, all is right again with the world. —Jonathon Kecskes, St. Clair Shores

 

Artist of the year

Thanks so much for the insightful, important article on Aaron Ibn Pori Pitts ("Artist of the year," Metro Times, Jan. 3). His unflagging energy and dynamic works have fueled the metropolitan Detroit arts scene for decades, and he has functioned as a role model for living a life totally immersed in art.

In addition to his visual arts works, Ibn has seen the importance of documenting the lives and works of artists in the community; you would never see him without his camera. I first met him when I was a very young artist, still in art school at Wayne State. He came to the very first show I ever had, a two-person exhibition with Stephanie Crawford at the old Artist Guild of Detroit Gallery. He interviewed me on videotape and gave me a chance to shine. I was thrilled at the attention, and at the fact that someone considered me and my work to be worthy of note. —Gilda Snowden, Detroit

 

A balanced look at Ford

Though I agree that President Ford was a good man ("How Ford held the road," Metro Times, Jan. 3), I have to take exception to some of your points.

I think the pardon of Richard Nixon was a crime against the justice system. It showed that even the "king" is above the law, and, I think, set a precedent that led to the pardons of Weinberger and the Iran-Contra group as Reagan scooted out the door. Nixon should have had to face a court of law, justice demanded it, and the American public deserved a full accounting of the crimes of the Nixon White House.

I know it seems harsh to criticize the late president, but in all the memorials and coverage, there doesn't seem to be any balance. —Scott Brodie, Saline

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