Elliott: Bank of America connects to Detroit via art

Matt Elliott

Art is a way to express ourselves and enrich the lives of those around us. It lets us imagine the unimaginable and reminds us that all things are possible.

Detroit is made of the same framework; telling a story of a rich past, navigating through dark times and envisioning a vibrant future.

Bank of America is passionate about supporting the arts in Detroit, as well as across the globe.

We support the arts because we believe they are a powerful tool in helping economies thrive, connecting individuals with contrasting cultures and educating and enriching societies.

The challenge? To provide a lasting reflection of people and their cultures while preserving actual pieces of art from deterioration over time. It is imperative that we all do our part to protect these historical treasures and their cultural importance for generations to come.

The Bank of America Art Conservation Project is a unique program that provides grants to nonprofit museums throughout the world to conserve historically or culturally significant works of art.

Two years ago, the Bank of America Art Conversation Project partnered with the Detroit Institute of Arts to preserve Diego Rivera’s preliminary illustrations that were used to create the murals in Rivera Court at the DIA.

Through our financial support, the DIA was able to digitally photograph and restore parts of this priceless collection, which had never previously been seen by the public.

Now, we are once again partnering with it to present the Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo in Detroit exhibit. We’re proud to say that five of Rivera’s life-sized drawings are on display in the exhibition, exclusively at the DIA through July 12. We are also delighted to provide an opportunity for the Greater Detroit community to see this once-in-a-lifetime collection.

In addition to bringing the exhibition to life, the bank is donating 2,000 free tickets to students from Detroit schools.

Students will be able to explore the history behind the two iconic artists in the first ever bilingual exhibit at the DIA. Uniquely, the exhibit features audio-guides specifically tailored for students and adults in both English and Spanish discussing the importance of Rivera and Kahlo’s time in Detroit. It is our hope that introducing these students to this exhibit will inspire a future generation of art lovers and educate them on Detroit’s historically significant past.

We want all families within our community to discover the treasures the DIA and other museums possess. On a national level, our Museums on Us program creates this opportunity. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch debit and credit card holders have the opportunity to visit more than 150 of the most popular cultural institutions in the United States free of charge, including museums in Dearborn, Detroit, Flint and Grand Rapids.

We’re proud to support the arts and the vital role it plays in enriching our communities, celebrating the past and inspiring the future. Consider experiencing the arts for yourself and help support the community we love.

Matt Elliott is president of the Michigan market for Bank of America.