Art X Detroit

The third biennial Art X Detroit returns on April 9. For the uninitiated:

Art X Detroit: Kresge Arts Experience (AXD) is a 10-day festival of dance, literary, musical & theatrical performances, film screenings, visual arts installations, workshops, panel discussions & interactive experiences. AXD presents works created by the 2013-2014 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows. AXD will be hosted at multiple venues throughout Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center over a three-week period in April & is FREE to the public.

AXD is presented by The Kresge Foundation and produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc. AXD partners include: Kresge Arts in Detroit, College for Creative Studies, Creative Many, and MOCAD.

Dates: April 9-12, 16-19, and 25-26.

The Arab American National Museum is proud to sponsor two events as part of AXD. We’ll be supporting the sessions Rola Nashef, The Director’s Cut on April 16 at the Detroit Film Theatre, and Poetry and Music from Iraq (featuring Dunya Mikhail) on April 25 at MOCAD. Both Rola and Dunya are amazing artists. Further, they are both involved with several Arab American National Museum programs, including DIWAN6: A Forum for the Arts, which will take place on May 8-9, 2015.

Flyer for Rola Nashef, The Director's Cut- AXD
Rola Nashef, The Director’s Cut- AXD
Flyer for Poetry and Music - AXD
Poetry and Music – AXD
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2015 Knight Arts Challenge Q/A Sessions

The Knight Arts Challenge has done an amazing job of investing in arts initiatives throughout the metropolitan Detroit region. Starting Monday, March 16, interested parties can apply for a share of $3 million as part of the 2015 Challenge, which funds ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts.

The deadline for the challenge, a project of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is April 13. Thus far in Detroit, the Knight Arts Challenge has awarded 114 winners about $5 million.

The Knight Foundation will host a launch party and a series of community Q&A sessions throughout Detroit to answer applicants’ questions. The Arab American National Museum is pleased to host an information session on Monday, March 23 at 6 p.m. Hope to see you there!

Flyer for the 2015 Knight Arts Challenge
2015 Knight Arts Challenge
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2015 Kresge Eminent Artist Award Winner…Ruth Adler Schnee!

As a member of the Kresge Arts in Detroit Advisory Council, one of our responsibilities is to select the Kresge Eminent Artist Award recipient. Choosing one artist to bestow the title of Eminent Artist is no easy task given the amazing talent in our region. However, the 2015 winner – Ruth Adler Schnee – is a most deserving awardee. An immigrant. A pioneer. An innovator. A celebrated designer.

From the Kresge Foundation’s press release:

Schnee joins six other artists who, since 2008, have received the Kresge Eminent Artist award recognition of professional achievements, contributions to metropolitan Detroit’s cultural community and dedication to Detroit and its residents. The award includes a $50,000 prize.

Schnee’s work elevated Michigan’s stature in modern design and architecture. She worked on the General Motors Technical Center in Warren (with architect Eero Saarinen in 1950-55), the World Trade Center (with Minoru Yamasaki in 1970-77) and the update of Albert Kahn’s Ford Rotunda in Dearborn, which she worked on in 1952-53. The Adler-Schnee store in Detroit – a partnership with her late husband, Edward Schnee – opened in 1948 as one of the first shops in the nation to sell modern home fabrics and furnishings to the public. She still designs custom fabrics for KnollTextiles, where she holds a 20-year contract, and Anzea Textiles, an upholstery company.

At 91, she continues to work most of the year from her studio in Southfield, a suburb of Detroit.

Congratulations Ruth Adler Schnee! Head over to the KAD blog to learn more about Schnee.

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The Third Annual SphinxCon

Our friends at the Sphinx Organization will host the third annual SphinxCon, one of the nation’s leading arts diversity conferences, from Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, 2015 in Detroit! SphinxCon will bring more than 40 distinguished arts leaders together to discuss solutions to the challenges surrounding diversity in the performing arts. The Arab American National Museum is a proud program partner for this event, which features Maysoon Ziad.‬

Flyer for 2015 SphinxCon
2015 SphinxCon
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Patriots & Peacemakers in Washington, D.C.

The Arab American National Museum was honored to present the Patriots & Peacemakers exhibit at the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda in Washington, D.C during the week of Veterans Day. Speaking to this, we were able to showcase the dedication of Arab Americans who have served our country in the heart of our nation’s capital; such a fitting and deserving way to recognize their contributions and heroism.

The opening reception—on November 12 in the majestic Kennedy Caucus Room—was an amazing event that brought together over 150 people to celebrate this exclusive exhibit and reflect upon its importance. The event hosted scores of Patriots featured in the exhibit; Members of Congress and their senior staff; colleagues from Smithsonian Affiliations and several Smithsonian museums; ambassadors; sponsors; and other friends of the AANM. We were pleased to welcome speakers from the three arenas of service featured in the exhibit: U.S. Peace Corps Deputy Director Kathy Rulon, Retired Brigadier General Guy Sands, and Deputy Under Secretary for Arabian Gulf Affairs at the State Department, Ambassador Susan Ziadeh, who is also featured in the exhibition. National Advisory Board member Ambassador Ed Gabriel moderated the program, which also featured remarks by myself and Board member Ziad Ojakli, whose Ford Motor Company was the exhibit underwriter for the D.C. visit.

To present accurate and timely information about Arab Americans on Capitol Hill, directly to our country’s leaders, represents an historic moment. As a Museum and as a national community, we are at a turning point. We are increasingly visible, increasingly enthusiastic, and increasingly united as we celebrate the diversity among Arab Americans. We are poised to emerge as a formidable force in American civil society, and our Museum is the catalyst.

Making remarks at the reception
Devon Akmon making introductory remarks during the reception in the Kennedy Caucus Room.
Exhibit in the ussell Senate Building Rotunda
Looking down at the exhibit in the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda.
Viewing the exhibit
Guests explore the exhibit in the the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda.
The Russell Senate Building Rotunda
Looking up at the Russell Senate Office Building Rotunda.
Displaying her cube in the exhibit
A Patriot proudly displays the cube featuring her service in the exhibit.
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2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships Application Cycle is Open

It’s that time of the year! Calling all Detroit-based writers and visual artists, the application period for the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships opens on December 1, 2014. In the spirit of transparency, I serve on the Advisory Council for this program. However, I am not a judge for this particular award. Details:

Emerging and established metropolitan Detroit Literary and Visual artists are invited to apply for a $25,000 Kresge Artist Fellowship. Fellowships are funded by The Kresge Foundation and administered by the Kresge Arts in Detroit office at the College for Creative Studies, with professional practice opportunities for the selected fellows provided by Creative Many Michigan.

  • Thursday, October 30, 2014: Application Guide and Resources Available
  • Monday, December 1, 2014: Online Application Opens
  • Thursday, January 22, 2015 by 11:59 p.m. EST: Application Deadline

In 2015, the program will provide support for nine Literary Arts Fellows and nine Visual Arts Fellows living and working in metropolitan Detroit (Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties). Kresge Artist Fellowships are given to artists whose commitment to artistic achievement, in contemporary or traditional forms, is evident in the quality of their work.

Flyer for the 2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships
2015 Kresge Artist Fellowships
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Arab American Patriots & Peacemakers Honored with Capitol Hill Exhibition

Veterans Day holiday coincides with historic Arab American Nat’l Museum presentation Nov. 10-14 at Russell Senate Office Bldg.

America’s only museum celebrating the Arab American experience is bringing an original exhibition on public service to Capitol Hill in time for Veterans Day on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014.

Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country will be on public display in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, 2 Constitution Ave. NE, Monday, Nov. 10 through Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. Admission is free.

Created by the Arab American National Museum (AANM) in Dearborn, Mich., this multimedia, interactive exhibition tells true stories of heroism and self-sacrifice that affirm the important role Arab American men and women of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds have played in our country throughout its history. Patriots & Peacemakers highlights 170 people from 39 states in three specific areas of service: the U.S. Armed Forces, diplomatic corps and the Peace Corps.

More than two dozen Washington, D.C.-based Arab American patriots are featured in the exhibition; visit to view a list. Among them are Gen. John P. Abizaid and Gen. George Joulwan of the U.S. Army; Army veterans and diplomats George J. Mitchell and Philip Habib; diplomats Edward Gabriel, Susan L. Ziadeh, Marcelle Wahba and Camille Nowfel (a diplomatic interpreter for five U.S. presidents); and Peace Corps workers George Gorayeb, Raja’e Nami, Nura Suleiman and Ruth Ann Skaff.

Gabriel, Ziadeh, Skaff, and several more Arab American patriots, as well as federal lawmakers, military, diplomatic and Peace Corps leadership, will be in attendance at a private Wed., Nov. 12 reception in the Kennedy Caucus Room at the Russell Senate Office Building.

“Arab Americans have been an integral part of the United States of America since its inception, contributing to our society in myriad ways, including public service, with dignity, loyalty and sacrifice,” says Devon Akmon, director of the AANM.

“Right now, there is so much damaging misinformation being spread about Arab Americans, especially when world events cause some people to paint with a far too broad a brush,” Akmon continues. “To present accurate and timely information about Arab Americans in our nation’s capital, directly to our country’s leaders, represents an historic moment for the Museum and the national Arab American community.”

Following four years of national research and curation, Patriots & Peacemakers originally opened at the AANM on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2011, and has since been presented in Jacksonville, Fla.; Topeka, Kan. (Brown v. Board of Education Historic Site); Houston; and two Southern California venues (Japanese American National Museum and University of California – Irvine). While this large version of the traveling exhibition is on display in our nation’s capital in November, a smaller version of Patriots & Peacemakers is on display through Nov. 20, 2014, at the Alif Institute in Atlanta.

Creation of the original exhibition was made possible in part by the Ford Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, and Chevron. The AANM gratefully acknowledges the following legislators for their contributions: Michigan’s Sen. Carl Levin, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. John D. Dingell, and the late Sen. Daniel Inouye.

Supporting the Washington, D.C. presentation of Patriots & Peacemakers are Chevron, Ford Motor Company, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates, DLA Piper LLP and many more; media sponsorship provided by

Read more about the Capitol Hill presentation of Patriots & Peacemakers at

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