I grew up surrounded by masters I know I can count on to make me feel welcome each time I go back. Krasner, Cassatt, Sargent, Hanson, Rickey, and so many others who would greet me time and again, kept me company through my journey into adulthood and as I transformed from student to teacher. Many of my college Art classes were taught in studio spaces connected to the FIA, which allowed me to easily go back and forth between classes and whisper my hopes and dreams to each piece as a promise that I would always return and that they would always be there when I did.
The FIA has had a major remodel since I graduated from college. It is now a slick building with clean lines and when I visit, I am greeted with a wonderful Chihuly hanging from the ceiling and a Dine in the middle of the lobby. The diverse collection includes works from around the world, both ancient and contemporary, and is put together in a way that is both warm and inviting and makes me feel 18 again.
During my last visit, my husband and I were approached by the Executive Director, John B. Henry. He engaged us in a conversation about art (specifically the Butterfield piece in their sculpture gallery) and we spoke several times during our time there. I do not recall any other museum where that has happened in my lifetime (and I have been to plenty of museums). I am grateful that I can call this place, that has been so welcoming over the years, an essential player behind my appreciation for Art.
If you ever get a chance to make your way to Flint, MI, you must stop by the FIA. Here are some images from my visit there this past week: