The Istar Gate displayed in the DIA's Ancient Middle East gallery.Photo courtesy of DIA. ©Detroit Institute of Arts

Davidson Foundation Funds DIA Middle East Gallery

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The Istar Gate displayed in the DIA's Ancient Middle East gallery.Photo courtesy of DIA. ©Detroit Institute of Arts
The Istar Gate displayed in the DIA’s Ancient Middle East gallery.
Photo courtesy of DIA. ©Detroit Institute of Arts

By Pam Marcil

(DETROIT, MI) – The Detroit Institute of Arts announced today that it will name its newly reinstalled Ancient Middle East gallery in recognition of a $5 million grant from the William Davidson Foundation, which will go to the museum’s endowment.

The newly named William Davidson Gallery showcases objects from the ancient Arabian Kingdom as well as from the empires of Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, and Rome.

“We are very grateful for this generous grant from the William Davidson Foundation,” said Salvador Salort-Pons, DIA director. “This is a wonderful milestone for the museum, and designating the funds to our operating endowment will tremendously help our efforts to secure the permanent financial stability of the DIA, and transform our museum into the town square of the community. We truly aim to engage and be relevant to our surrounding neighbourhoods and supporting counties.”

The foundation, which was a significant contributor to the City of Detroit’s Grand Bargain, believes the DIA makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in south-eastern Michigan.

“The Davidson Foundation recognizes that the DIA is an essential part of Michigan’s rich cultural heritage and an important anchor of the growing Midtown Detroit community,” said the foundation’s executive committee in a statement. “We are pleased to support the important effort to grow the DIA’s permanent endowment. The William Davidson Gallery will help visitors to access and understand the DIA’s collection of remarkable antiquities from the ancient Middle East.”

The DIA is planning to include a section in the William Davidson Gallery on the production of glass in the ancient Middle East region, and has begun conversations with the Israel Antiquities Authority to obtain loans of remarkable glass and ceramics that will enhance the gallery.

“This is a fitting tribute to the life and work of William Davidson, who left such a singular mark on our community and the glass industry through his company, Guardian Industries, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of fabricated glass,” said Salort-Pons.

Glass making is a natural fit in the section of the gallery dedicated to the exploration of innovations, inventions, and technologies, such as stone-carving, ceramics, writing, and metalworking, that emerged in the Middle East.