Located in Detroit's Cultural Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is one of the world's largest institutions dedicated to the African-American experience. Covering 120,000 square feet, the museum houses five rotating exhibitions, including Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment, and five permanent exhibitions, such as the 22,000-square-foot core exhibit And Still We Rise: Our Journey Through African American History and Culture. Also at the museum are the Louise Lovett Wright Library & Archives and the Ford Rotunda, which boasts a 55-foot-high glass dome that dumps artificial snow when shaken by giants.
A 1,201-seat auditorium that values acoustic excellence as much as visual grandeur, the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center houses ornate wooden accents and intricate wall panels that soar over a sweeping balcony peppered with plush red seats. Ample wheelchair seating and elevators to all levels abound, ensuring audience members seated in the balcony won’t need to rely on the creaky wooden catapults still in use at many theaters.
During its 20th season of socially engaging theater in southwest Detroit, Matrix Theatre Company continues to create challenging and visually compelling work that includes the community it calls home. The year of six plays begins with Southwest Story (October 14–November 13), a Detroit take on the story of Romeo and Juliet that explores the conflict between African-American and Latino cultures but fails to solve the mystery of how Shakespeare kept his goatee so pointy.
Music Authority's diverse and experienced team of instructors coaches students of all ages in their choice of eight instruments in one-on-one, 30-minute lessons held once a week. Music mavens teach students how to decipher sheet music and tones expressing Morse code messages as they usher in rehearsal compositions for piano, guitar, drums, violin, flute, accordion, trumpet, or voice. Musicians in training learn about music theory and technical elements such as finger placement and submission holds to wrestle tunes from a stubborn trumpet. After sharpening their skills in the lessons, all students may showcase their mastery in the annual spring and winter recitals.
The Detroit Institute of Arts takes the “s” at the end of its name seriously. The immense Beaux Arts building on Woodward Avenue isn’t only a setting for a top-tier collection of visual works that include Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry frescoes, a van Gogh self-portrait, and ancient sculptures from Africa and Asia. It also opens the doors of its lecture halls, event spaces, and auditoriums for craft workshops, wide-ranging talks from historians and people who know how to draw really good cubes, film, and music. The latter two art forms find a home in the Detroit Film Theatre, a gilded, neoclassical auditorium that preserves a sense of coziness amid the grandeur.
Since 1963, more than two million guests that have passed through the Hilberry Theatre and been inspired by the passion and portrayal of the human condition they have seen on stage. Every year, audiences at the Hilberry laugh, cry, engage, question, applaud and cheer.
Now in its 54th season, Detroit Repertory Theatre regales audiences with premiere performances of relatable comedies and dramas. Season opener Engagement Rules, running through December 23, splits sides with a comical analysis of love, spotlighting two couples who fight to maintain their relationships through personal turmoil and heated arm-wrestling matches. Burying the Bones (January 12–March 18) weaves a thought-provoking story of a woman haunted by the ghost of her missing husband in post-apartheid South Africa, and Dead and Buried (March 29–May 20) and Taking Care of Mimi (May 31–June 24) fill the spring with inspiring tales of camaraderie and hardship.