College students invade the DIA


The Detroit Institute of Arts is one of the city’s brightest gems. It had a close call with liquidation when Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, but it has stuck around.

The three-floor museum holds art from the likes of Diego Rivera and Vincent van Gogh that ranges from ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary sculptures.

On Feb. 17, students from Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties were invited to the museum for College Night, where they could enjoy perks like staying past hours and free admission into the Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea and Chocolate exhibit being featured. Instead of being charged the usual $7 student admission fee, they got in for free.

Many schools, including Oakland University, bussed students over, but the DIA accepted walk-ins who showed their college IDs. Free coat check and materials to participate in the night’s event were given at the door.

The DIA is usually open until 10 p.m. on Friday nights, but on this special occasion, students could stay until midnight and enjoy a dance party, food and a bar for those of age. Other events such as a scavenger hunt and a live music concert were also available.

The event sold out at around 7 p.m., and consequently DIA employees had to turn many college students away to purchase normal admission tickets. The museum let everyone in, but the events exclusively for college students were filled up quickly.

OU chartered a bus to take a group of 50 students, who arrived in time to get college night wristbands. Julie Paula, a junior majoring in accounting, said she was particularly excited about the Bitter|Sweet exhibit.

“I live in the area, so I can always get into the DIA for free anyway,” she said. “But I haven’t seen the coffee and tea exhibit yet. The free admission to that is what made me want to come.”

Paula said one of the sets featured in the exhibit was recently featured at Meadow Brook Hall. She saw it there and wanted to see it again when it came to the DIA.

While residents of the tricounty area always get free admission to the museum, a lot of OU students came because their residencies don’t fall under that umbrella.

Liz Bulliner, a junior health sciences major, said the free admission is what got her to board the bus.

“I don’t live around here, so I wanted to take the chance to get in free for once,” she said.

Paula and Bulliner participated in the scavenger hunt in the hopes of winning a prize and looked forward to the free food that would come later at night, when college students were the only patrons allowed to stay.

They enjoyed the scavenger hunt because it wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be.

“It’s forcing us to go to the four corners of the museum, I love it,” Paula said.

Neither was particularly drawn in by the dance party that started a few hours later, but they and many others enjoyed the night of getting cultured at the DIA.

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