Since I arrived at the DIA in 2008, I have been amazed by the diverse talent and expertise that one can find in the different departments across the organization. We have experts who know how to hand-make one-of-a-kind mounts to install 3-D art objects that are displayed in vitrines in our galleries; a team of employees who study through evaluation, observing how our visitors interact and learn from those 3-D art objects; a group of connoisseurs who find those amazingly beautiful 3-D art objects in the art market; an entire department that raises the funds so we can buy those objects and share them with the community; and other DIA teams who make sure those 3-D objects are conserved, protected and presented in a facility that is welcoming, comfortable and inviting for our visitors. I could continue sharing how everyone in the organization contributes to the satisfaction of our visitors and brings to the table a unique perspective to enrich the DIA experience. It is simply extraordinary the wide array of knowhow that the staff possesses to make our operation an unforgettable reality. The greatest wealth of the DIA is its staff, from those who are on the front line to those who work behind the scenes. All of them make the DIA a world-class museum.
Two weeks ago, more than 120 DIA staff members gathered online for our annual Employee Service Recognition Awards, where we celebrate the talent, expertise, and passion of team members who have met significant milestones in their careers with the DIA. Ordinarily, this is a festive opportunity for our staff to gather in person, enjoy snacks, and congratulate their colleagues in Kresge Court. Despite not being able to gather face-to-face, our Employee Engagement Team put together a fun and celebratory online event, with great music, to honor these team members who have served the museum for anywhere from 5 to 40 years.
After recognizing many of them by name and years of service, we created a special moment to distinguish those who have worked at the DIA for 30 or more years --- an extraordinary and exemplary commitment to the arts in Detroit! It is simply inspiring to see that the DIA has the opportunity to celebrate individuals who have passionately and loyally devoted decades of their lives to make a difference in the arts and generously serve our community for decades.
Their supervisors spoke with admiration and gratitude about their contributions to the DIA at the event. A couple of them share here what they value about working at the DIA:
What I value most about the DIA is that it can change how a visitor thinks about how they share their humanity across time and place. Over the years I’ve come to think of the DIA as having two states; one in stone that exists at 5200 Woodward Ave, and the many that exist in the memories of visitors from the first time they roamed the galleries in wonder. – Larry Baranski, Director of Public Programming and 40-year DIA employee
What I value most about the DIA is...my first memory of the museum is being about 5 years old and standing on the side of the display case with the Egyptian sarcophagi, trying to see if there were any mummies inside. So to be working at the DIA, helping to preserve & present the collection to people here in Detroit, Michigan and throughout the world, is a real joy. I truly believe that art belongs to everyone & I am very happy to play a small part in helping to make our human cultural history accessible to all. Aside from that, I equally value the many friendships and collegial relationships I’ve forged over the years, both inside the museum and with other colleagues in my profession. – Kimberly Dziurman, Exhibitions Registrar, 30-year DIA employee
Reading these testimonials makes me think that in a similar way that the atoms are the fundamental building blocks of the universe, each one of us, the DIA employees, weave the fabric of the institution, our universe, where we build stars, planets, galaxies and other celestial bodies for our community to enjoy. The collective work of the team is what makes the museum a special place. It is the institution that remains year after year as the perpetual legacy and memory of all those who gave their talent and passion to serve the arts, where the stars shine.