The opportunity to work with the Detroit Institute of Arts’ robust Native American Art collection was the golden ticket that excited Dr. Denene De Quintal about her move to Detroit.
Dr. De Quintal was recently appointed as the DIA’s assistant curator of Native American Art, a position that has been vacant for nearly a decade. Joining Detroit’s art scene following a curatorial position with the Denver Art Museum, the Native American art enthusiast and researcher, started her new role on October 7th.
“We have over 4,000 pieces of artwork in the Native American Collection and part of my vision for the gallery is to have more of them in rotation so that visitors coming through can see the depth of the collection,” Dr. De Quintal says in conversation with CultureShift hosts Amanda LeClaire and Ryan Patrick Hooper.
Though the DIA boasts a vast collection of Indigenous art works, Dr. De Quintal’s goal is to incorporate more contemporary works and collaborate with local artists to amplify their voices and perspectives as contributors to the artistic fabric of Native American culture.
“I feel that the [DIA] has some contemporary art works but more traditional art works,” she states. “It’s my hope that people and more contemporary artists are able to show in that gallery and the contemporary galleries at the DIA, so they can show that the people in these cultures and communities are not static and dead. They’re alive, vibrant and thriving.”