Detroit Institute of Arts presents the exhibition “Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections” on view November 12, 2019–March 1, 2019
Showcasing the region as a center of African American creativity and Black excellence

Study for Haitian Mural, Wilmington, Delaware,” 1942, Aaron Douglas, American; oil on board. Lent by Wilson A. and Deborah Fl. Copeland and Lauren F. C. N’Namdi.

In celebration of Detroit’s rich history as a center for African American art and artists, the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) presents “Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections,” from November 12, 2019 through March 1, 2020. Nineteen Detroit-area art collectors generously loaned the artworks in this exhibition, some of which are on public view for the first time. “Detroit Collects” is free with general admission, which is free for residents of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

This exhibition, the first at the DIA to feature African American art from several local collectors, features 60 works of art in a variety of media, including paintings, sculptures, photography and more by internationally renowned artists. Highlights include works by Romare Bearden, Nick Cave, Alison Saar, Rashid Johnson and Carrie Mae Weems. The exhibition also features artists with Detroit roots, including Charles McGee, Mario Moore, Tylonn Sawyer, Allie McGhee and others. Their works will be displayed alongside the stories of motivation and passion that drive each collector to acquire African American art, and the ways the art can reflect and affect social change.

“The DIA’s General Motors Center for African American Art is the first curatorial department dedicated to African American art in the U.S.,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA Director. “This exhibition builds on our history of collecting and displaying African American art and creates a new opportunity for our visitors to see themselves reflected in the museum’s galleries.”

The DIA’s gala, the museum’s signature fundraising event on November 9, 2019, will be the opening celebration for Detroit Collects. The DIA’s closest philanthropic supporters will come together to celebrate and honor the legacy of African American art. Guests will have a first look at the exhibition that explores the rich history of collecting African American art while giving voice to its collectors.

Collectors in the exhibition include long-time supporters of the DIA such as Maureen and Roy Roberts — a contemporary African American gallery bears their names in recognition of a generous contribution to the museum. Other collectors include Nettie Seabrooks, the first African American woman executive at General Motors and deputy mayor, chief of staff and COO of the City of Detroit during the administration of Mayor Dennis Archer; and Rhonda D. Welburn, practicing attorney and former board member of the DIA who serves on the board of many nonprofit and charitable organizations such as the DMC Foundation and the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.

Other lenders include: Joanne & Harold Braggs, Gayle & Andrew Camden, Deborah F. & Wilson A. Copeland, Dr. Walter O.  & Linda Evans, Mary Anne & Eugene A. Gargaro, Jr., Robert B. & Katherine Jacobs, Karen Clermont Johnson, Dr. Darnell & Shirley A. Kaigler, Richard and Jane Manoogian, Joy & Allan Nachman, Dr. Cledie Taylor, Dr. Lorna Thomas, Jerome Watson & Deborah Geraldine Bledsoe Ford, David & Linda Whitaker, and Shirley Woodson Reid.

Detroit Collects: Selections of African American Art from Private Collections is organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Major support has been generously provided by Masco Corporation and the DTE Foundation. Additional funding is contributed by Quicken Loans Community Fund, the Ford Motor Company Fund, and Dickinson Wright PLLC.

Select images and a media kit can be found at

Museum Hours and Admission

9 a.m.–4 p.m. Tuesdays–Thursdays, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. General admission (excludes ticketed exhibitions) is free for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne county residents and DIA members. For all others, $14 for adults, $9 for seniors ages 62+, $8 for college students, $6 for ages 6–17. For membership information, call 313-833-7971.