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.
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.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as "probably America's most visitor-friendly art museum," the Detroit Institute of Arts has been building one of the top six collections in the country since it was founded in 1885. Along the way, the institute acquired standout pieces such as Vincent Van Gogh's Self Portrait, the first Van Gogh painting to enter a public museum's collection in the United States. Former director William Valentiner commissioned Diego Rivera to paint the world-renowned Detroit Industry mural cycle in an indoor courtyard—a more lasting tribute to the beauty of labor. In total, more than 60,000 works of prehistoric, modern, contemporary, and multinational art have found a home within the museum's more than 100 galleries.
The institute’s broad range of art comprises not only American and European works but also significant pieces of African, Asian, and Native American origin. An auditorium and recital hall also make the institute a haven for film and live music on Friday and Sunday. Guests can even attend free-with-admission drop-in workshops to make their own unique works of art.
Initially conceived as a one-off event in 2010, The Smoker's Club has since expanded, presenting fans with tours that unite skilled rappers and expert beat makers. One of the original members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Grammy-winning wordsmith Method Man spouts off dexterous rhymes in a gravely voice obtained by chugging asphalt smoothies every day for breakfast. Curren$y gently cradles ears with laid-back flow, and frequent Smoker's Club collaborators such as Big K.R.I.T., Smoke DZA and Fiend buoy the evening with additional verbal fireworks. Rattling bass shakes the historic Congress Theater's gold-domed interior and main floor as fans dance and weave through the crowds to try to snag an autographed poster, CD, or security guard.
The Burton Theatre is a new independent cinema in the Heart of Detroit that features classic art house, independent, LGBT, foreign and cult films. Responding to the shortage of art house venues in the city, the Burton Theatre aims to help Detroit rival Chicago and New York as a center for independent film.
The nation's fourth-oldest orchestra, the DSO has been filling Detroit's music halls with top-notch euphony since 1887. By the 1920s, the orchestra came into its own, entering a golden age that saw them hosting such legends as Igor Stravinsky, Richard Strauss, and Sergei Rachmaninoff. After financial difficulties put the outfit's hall in jeopardy, a multi-decade fund-raising effort led to their triumphant return home in 1989. Today, the orchestra remains one of the most recorded symphonies in the country, bringing the classical canon to millions of listeners and giving orchestra members something to blast at family gatherings when their siblings start talking about their jobs.