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DIA director retiring after 16-year tenure

Jun 29, 2015

Graham Beal is retiring from his position as director of the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Credit DIA

The director of the Detroit Institute of Arts is retiring after leading the museum for 16 years.

Graham Beal first announced plans to step down from the position back in January. Tuesday will be his last day.

When he first came to the DIA in 1999, Beal said he set out to make the museum more accessible for visitors. 

What followed was a major reinstallation and re-imagination of the museum's permanent collection.

The project took six years to complete. It included the addition of special tools within the reinstalled galleries to help visitors better understand the museum's more than 60,000 artworks.

"We simply [began] treating our own permanent collections as if they were one big special exhibition," Beal said.

Beal credits the changes for improving the DIA's relationship with the public and helping to secure a 10-year millage for financial support in 2012.

The millage, he said, helped keep the DIA's art off the auction block during Detroit's bankruptcy negotiations.

"Although there were many other factors, I take pride in that in the end, it was all about the art," Beal said. "I hope my successor will continue to explore ways to be inclusive and demonstrate that art does matter."

Beal said he plans to write a book about his experiences working at the DIA.