Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Detroit, Part deux

I survived Detroit. Better than survived. Persevered. Rose above, even. (Ok, well, maybe there were moments where we could only manage to rise one or two inches above, but it still counts.) What matters is we made it through.

I find Michigan rather captivating. Detroit is a mess, but the outlying areas are pretty, and have quite diverse populations. And the communities are involved with local events and activities. That kind of participatory attitude gets me every time.

My first night there my boss and I went to see Sex and the City: The Movie. It was delightful. If anyone hasn't seen it, stop reading now and get thee to a movie theater!

The second day, we got our work done in the morning and then escaped to the Henry Ford Museum, where we whiled away several hours at the quaint Greenfield Village. It is a Williamsburg-esque historical town, with the requisite old-fashioned snacks and workers dressed up in authentic costumes. There was a choo-choo train and lots of lemonade. Delightful.

Monday night, after a painful day of meetings and workshops, we headed off to Flint, MI for our first dinner party. It was held at the Flint Institute of Arts.

It was great. Delicious food, a pianist, a warm patio and good art made for a nice evening. The bus ride clocked in at an hour and half EACH WAY but that provided nice time to relax and talk with my bosses.

Tuesday was a long day. We had a very demanding schedule with a few nail-biting moments (a major workshop session ready to begin, with a room full of museum directors staring at us, and A/V equipment that just. wouldn't. WORK!!! I don't enjoy being the center of attention in those moments.) It finally shuddered to a start and we gratefully escaped the room.

Tueday night capped off with dinner at the Detroit Institute of Arts. One of my favorite museums and one of my favorite directors. His work revitalizing and reinterpreting the museum and it's collections is amazing.

Wednesday, the last day (pardon the shriek of joy) was jim-jammed packed with action as well. We started the day back at the DIA, and then drove to another museum, the Cranbrook Museum of Art. It's quite unique, in that there is a museum, a science institute, a graduate art program, and a boy's and girl's school, grammer through high school, all on one campus. We had tours and lectures and it was all very lovely. This view of the pond and trees from the portico was my absolute favorite. Very peaceful. It makes me want a backyard.

Wednesday night we broke the state line to go to the Toledo Museum of Art. May I just say, wow. It was unbelievable. The museum was incredible. I grew up in Ohio and certainly never would have guessed that Toledo, of all places, would have the most elegant museum I've ever been in. They have everything. It is amazing.

And just to top it off with even more greatness, they have a new glass pavillion, which houses their glass collection and has a glass blower's studio. Very, very cool.

Upon returning to New York, my boss received an email, complimenting her on her graciousness during the difficult week. The email was very kind:

"Your grace and dignity thru the Detroit meeting makes me feel small; I didn’t do as well. The smooth functioning of the meeting (which I know must have been complicated) and the focus on the all the institutions that I’m sure had planned extensively for the visit was not altered by the circumstances surrounding the meeting. This is a great tribute to you and your staff. I am in awe. One of my life goals was to be a member of this organization; but I won’t be as proud of having been a member if you aren’t there. In the days when I thought (Director X) and (Director Y) hung the moon, they were clear that you hung the moon. I’m still of that opinion. I am very very proud that you are my friend."

I hope to be worthy of such high praise someday.

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