DAS 90th Birthday Gala

The Dante Alighieri Society of Michigan had chosen the fantastic setting of the Detroit Yacht Club for a promising party to celebrate the end of another great year and its 90th anniversary. DAS proposed an enjoyable evening with seated dinner, music, dance, and a blind silent auction of works by Detroit artists, three of whom from the DeTur project – the brainchild of Pierette Domenica Simpson and Richard Haskin, which aims at tightening the relationship between the two sister cities of Detroit and Turin through artistic expression. The purpose of the art auction was for DAS to raise awareness of the rich Italian-American artistic life in the area while raising funds to support scholarships for DAS students of the AP program.

On the second floor of the DYC, the way to the dining hall was decorated with the display of works of art for the silent auction: paintings, artistic photos, prints, jewelry, autographed books, and unique videos. There were also gift certificates for different art experiences: from watercolor and origami classes to violin restoration. Following the exhibition of works to be auctioned, the art exhibition continued with Richard Haskin’s artistic photos of Detroit and Daniela Fucciarelli’s unique jewelry creations.

Daniela D’Amico Henderson, president of DAS Michigan, officially opened the festivities introducing DAS Board members and explaining the educational targets of the organization. In celebration of the 90th anniversary of DAS Michigan, Mr. Anthony Catanio, President of Dante Alighieri Society of New Jersey and Paola Morabito, a former member of the Board of Directors, flew to Michigan to join the gala. Following a well-established tradition, DAS honored with the Dante Citizen Award a highly regarded member of the community who has performed outstanding work in promoting Italian culture and language. This year Wayne State University Professor Elena Past was granted the award, which included a medallion by Detroiter-Italian sculptor Sergio De Giusti.

Networking, dinner, and dancing to music by the Ciao Band, including the out-of-program performance of young singer Sofia Roselli (9) rounded off a fabulous night. Hoarse from talking to well over 100 people, sweaty from hours of dancing, and holding my high-heels in my hand, I left the party well after midnight. I had had a lot of fun and participated in a remarkable event for a great cause: education and the promotion of Italian language and culture.

Well done DAS and happy birthday!