On Sunday, I fulfilled one of my travel goals. It was a modest one: not like yurting in Mongolia or walking the moors or crossing the ocean from the old world to the new a la my ancestors.
Instead, this place I’ve always wanted to see is relatively close to my home and can be easily repeated. And by the looks of the amazing changes underway, I will happily return to the Detroit Institute of Art to gaze up again at the Diego Rivera murals.
Housed in a glass-covered courtyard, the frescos were painted throughout 1932 and capture the age of industry and vibrancy that once defined the suprisingly quiet and crumbling city. With a decidedly communist bent, they were controversial and raised a hubbub appropriate to the great Mexican artist, who once said, as quoted by PBS, “An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core. If the artist can’t feel everything that humanity feels, if the artist isn’t capable of loving until he forgets himself and sacrifices himself if necessary, if he won’t put down his magic brush and head the fight against the oppressor, then he isn’t a great artist.”
As we left, driving by abandoned art deco buildings and police cars angled sideways on the streets, I thought about the struggle to bring this once wealthy American city back to life. If he could, what would Rivera paint about Detroit these days?, I wondered.
Things change, places change, but there are some destinations and sights that stand the test of time, despite what happens all around them. What are your travel dreams: what have you always wanted to see?