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Society: DIA’s Rivera and Kahlo preview a festive event

Chuck Bennett

It almost felt like a Cinco de Mayo celebration, a festive high-energy event with a decided Mexican flair. Unlike most gatherings held at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the sold-out preview party for “Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in Detroit” was as passionate as it was celebratory.

Some 750 guests spread themselves throughout several designated areas of Detroit’s premier museum Saturday to get a first look at the exhibition. At every turn, it seemed there was a guest with a different story or purpose for attending this highly anticipated occasion.

“I was most interested in seeing Kahlo’s original work,” said Cindra James of Southfield, who attended with her husband, Darryl. “It’s powerful and symbolic of a woman who exhibits strength no matter what life throws at her. This I want for all women.”

An admitted partygoer and art lover, Barry Hobbs, a Macomb County chiropractor, was there for his love of art exhibition preview parties.

“This was a special DIA exhibition that I could not miss,” he said. “It was wonderful to see our art museum piece together the sketches, videos and drawings that relate to the crown jewel of Detroit, the Diego Rivera Court.

“Despite global political turmoil and the greatest depression the world has ever seen, the vision of Rivera, Kahlo and Ford was not obscured. Detroit was a significant catalyst in Frida’s professional career as an artist at the same time Rivera was producing his greatest work in his career. Now there’s something to talk about over your Sunday coffee.”

Invitations to the preview were first sent to the 22 community organizations hosting programs related to the exhibition and then opened to the public and media. The preview is a way of thanking the community organizations for their participation. The 750 tickets sold out within a few days.

Enhancing the festivities was entertainment from Mariachi Gallos de Oro in Rivera Court and Ballet Folklorico Moyocoyani Izel in the Great Hall. Guests also enjoyed an assortment of Mexican munchies, a nonalcoholic margarita punch and a cash bar.

Tickets to the event were $25. The exhibition opened to the general public Sunday and will run through July 12.

Chuck Bennett is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador and creator of the Social D, See