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More than 60,000 flock to DIA's Rembrandt exhibit

Photo courtesy of the DIA
Head of Christ, Rembrandt van Rijn, oil on oak panel, c. 1648-50. Staatliche Museen Preussicher Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin

The current exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts is shaping up to be the museum’s most popular exhibit in recent history.

Pam Marcil is director of public relations at the DIA. She says attendance at "Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" has been "really overwhelming almost. We’ve had about 60,000 people to date."

She says the “exhibit has brought in 3,500 new and renewed memberships to the museum.

That’s good news for the DIA; five months ago we reported how the museum was going to temporarily divert funds to help cover operating costs.

To help relieve a little pressure, DIA director Graham Beal asked permission to take money from funds dedicated solely to acquisitions, and temporarily use it to cover operating costs. In his monthly newsletter, Beal explained it like this: I approached the trustees of the two funds and asked, given the current situation, whether they would consider the temporary diversion of income from the funds to operating costs for five years. (The principal would not be touched.) They agreed to the temporary diversion. But in an interview with Michigan Radio, Beal warned the current situation is not sustainable: "The amount of money that we get from this is useful for us right now. But if we can’t restore our original business model that was based on tax support, the money we get from this is not going to be significant in terms of what would happen to the D.I.A.". The diversion amounts to $10 million over five years. The DIA's budget for this fiscal year is $25.4 million.

The Rembrandt exhibit closes February 12th. The museum has extended its weekend hours to accommodate the increased volume of visitors.

"Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus" exhibit debuted at the Louvre in Paris, then traveled to the Philadelphia Music of Art. The DIA is the last stop on the tour.

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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