Renovations pave way for new DIA concert series - The South End: News

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Renovations pave way for new DIA concert series

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Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 3:42 pm

The Detroit Institute of Art’s newly renovated Kresge Court, 5200 Woodward Ave., will host free weekly Sunday concerts that welcome Wayne State students.

Referred to as the Sunday Music Bar, the concerts take place from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. and are located on the bottom level of the DIA building. 

The acoustic concerts usually consist of a solo pianist, but have been known to accommodate nontraditional artists such as Michael Chikuzen Gould, who specializes in playing the shakuhachi, a Japanese flute made of bamboo. 

Previously, Kresge Court featured an area that consisted solely of various round tables, each with room for eight people. 

The layout offered little to no room for a student to study, let alone for the general public to relax and enjoy the performance. 

The high ceilings and open court did little to facilitate conversation between groups and lacked the audio capability to accomplish anything other than eating and listening.

However, the new renovations include two high-top, cafeteria-style tables with built-in electrical outlets for charging electronics; the original tables have been removed and replaced with oversized chairs and couches.

The new features offer a more modern and welcoming atmosphere that invites people to converse with one another, whether stranger or friend. 

“With features that support and encourage student involvement, the only disappointment is not being able to study while enjoying a concert every day,” said WSU student Rachel Capo.

An in-court café offers various meals and drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, to attendees. These features alone make it a suitable place for students who wish to study in a more relaxed setting than the typical library has to offer.

Students don’t need to be involved in the musical arts to appreciate the benefits that are offered by the Sunday Music Bar. 

According to jazz pianist and Sunday Music Bar performer Pamela Wise, being immersed in the various cultural aspects of the DIA has a positive influence on any student. 

Wise and her husband Wendell Harrison, well-known Detroit jazz clarinetist and tenor saxophonist, have performed with many WSU music students in the past. 

With one visit to Kresge Court, any student will notice the additional benefits that being in the DIA has to offer. 

“Art is the one thing that is universal,” said Akua Budu-Watkins, Detroit resident and frequenter to the DIA. “You don’t have to be immersed to enjoy it.”

Located in the backyard of WSU, the DIA houses everything from paintings to sculptures and various films that are on display. 

“Being within walking distance to one of the largest cultural art facilities in the nation is a blessing that most people can only dream of,” said Nady Bilani, senior communications student.

Bilani and Budu-Watkins both agree that budget cuts tend to first affect the arts programs within any school organization. The Sunday Music Bar offers a way for students to fulfill artistic needs while having the means to carry out schoolwork within a unique environment.

The Sunday Music Bar also lets students relax and enjoy music, rather than an accompaniment for more work.

“Music clears my mind and allows me to dismiss some of the stress acquired after a long day at school,” Capo said. 

“The Sunday Music Bar offers something that nowhere else does,” said Bilani, “a mentally stimulating atmosphere, with the luxuries of relaxation.”

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