Letter to the Editor: Macomb Benefits from the DIA
St. Clair Shores resident and chairman of the Macomb County Arts Authority, Stan Simek, shares his thoughts on the DIA millage.
As chair of the newly formed Macomb County Arts Authority, I’ve had a number of people ask me why I accepted this volunteer position.
The answer is simple. I agreed to take on this responsibility because the services the Detroit Institute of Arts will provide to Macomb County residents if the new arts authority is approved Aug. 7 far exceed the value of the annual investment Macomb County homeowners will make in the DIA. I believe cultural institutions like the DIA enhance the quality of life and help build a healthy community.
The Macomb County Art Institute Authority was created in anticipation of Tuesday’s primary election, when Macomb County voters will be asked to approve a 0.2 mil levy to support the DIA for the next 10 years. If the millage is approved, my six fellow authority board members and I will oversee the distribution of funds from the millage to the DIA in exchange for guaranteed services for Macomb County.
If the millage is approved on Aug. 7, the very next day the DIA will begin offering FREE admission for all Macomb County residents, including school groups in the fall. In addition, the museum will be able to expand operating hours to accommodate additional school groups and will set aside funds for transportation. Programs for senior citizens will be expanded, public programs will be enhanced, and the DIA will continue to present world-renowned special exhibitions for all of us to enjoy.
The fact is Macomb County residents already benefit greatly from the DIA. In last two years alone, nearly 10,000 students, teachers and chaperones from 87 schools in Macomb County have visited this internationally acclaimed museum. More than 800 Macomb County teachers are currently receiving free admission to the museum with DIA Educators’ passes. Imagine if thousands more received this benefit for free.
Earlier this year, the DIA was awarded a grant from Target Corporation that enabled an additional 2,200 students from 28 schools in Macomb County to enjoy free admission and transportation to the DIA. More than 2,100 Macomb County residents from senior centers, schools and community groups visited the blockbuster exhibition Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus last winter.
The DIA also reaches out to provide value to us within Macomb County. The museum’s popular Inside|Out program has brought reproductions of some of the DIA’s world-class collection to 11 Macomb County communities. In addition, museum curators, educators and docents have come to Macomb County to conduct more than 80 presentations in the last year.
Please join me in voting YES for Macomb County’s Art Institute Authority on Tuesday Aug. 7. Your YES vote not only will ensure that every Macomb County resident has free access to one of the most highly regarded museums in the world, perhaps more importantly it will guarantee that we can share this treasure with our children and grandchildren for many years to come.