The Draw of the DIA: Record attendance at the museum

March 18th, 2014

The Detroit Institute of Arts redesigned the space at Kresge Court to make it more of a tranquil, arty oasis and installed iPads for public use. The museum has a new concierge to help visitors navigate the museum and the city. A special exhibition called “Samurai: Beyond the Sword” opened earlier this month.

Are these events driving attendance at the downtown museum to record levels, or is it something else?

The free attendance for Macomb, Oakland and Wayne County residents after the successful 2012 millage is certainly helping, says Ann Marie Erickson, the DIA’s executive vice president who spoke with WDET’s Martina Guzman. Here’s the audio of their conversation.

The record attendance last year – 619,000 – is probably also a result of the publicity generated by the looming threat of selling artwork to finance the city’s debts in bankruptcy, Erickson admits.

“I think that increased it,” she says. “Being on the front page of the newspaper every day, being on all the radio and television stations, increases people’s awareness of the Detroit Institute of Arts and of our incredible collection, and many, many people have come in to see it.”

When was the last time you went?