By Susan Kehoe, Ph.D.
Photography by Jerry Zolynsky
The Community House (TCH) in Birmingham is hosting its annual Our Town Art Show and Sale, which runs from October 14 through the weekend. Behind the scenes, committee members volunteer their time and expertise to make Our Town an important event for local Michigan artists and our community. Liz DuMouchelle is one of those volunteers; she has quietly worked on the Our Town Committee for five years and this is her third year as co-chair of the Exhibition.
No one who knows DuMouchelle is surprised by her involvement with community art events given her longstanding interest in art history and philanthropic service.
She married into the DuMouchelle family, owners of DuMouchelle Art Galleries, Co. in Detroit, a business that appraises and conducts auctions of fine art and antiques. She was drawn into that world and participated at the gallery, frequently as the recorder at auctions.
At the same time, she worked by day in medical research at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, putting her master’s of science degree to good use. She said, “Coming from a medical family and background, I found the gallery experience an incentive to learn more about art. I’ve been a student of art history since the ‘60s and began collecting in the ‘80s.”
Along the way she also earned a candidate master’s in art history. Volunteering with the Founder’s Junior Council at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) she used her earlier experiences to develop a course in connoisseurship to interest young people in art and collecting. Connoisseurship is defined by DuMouchelle as “the intense study of a field of art on a seminar basis. In these classes you learned to see the quality of a piece and developed expertise in how to look at art.” She developed a similar course for DIA members and also chaired the Visiting Committee for European Sculpture and Decorative Arts.
Eventually DuMouchelle earned a law degree and began a new career and new life. She is now retired from the firm of Butzel Long, where she met her second husband. They merged their very different art collections that each had acquired through the years; when visiting their Bloomfield Hills home there’s a surprise around every corner. The integration of the collections creates a museum-like assemblage of art in their comfortable home.
In her long list of commitments to the Metropolitan Detroit community, her role as chairman of the board of the Southeastern Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross during 9/11 and its aftermath is indicative of her involvement and inclination toward service.
Some of her other involvements in non-profit art organizations included board positions with the Detroit’s Artist Market, the former Detroit Focus Gallery and Your Heritage House for children in Detroit. She continues to serve on the board of the Detroit Public Library Friends Foundation as well as the TCH Our Town Committee.
About the Our Town Show, DuMouchelle says, “Its primary intent is to showcase Michigan artists and to encourage the guests who attend to learn about art and start collecting from the artists they most enjoy. People will see a wide array of art, photographs, ceramics, painting, sculpture and jewelry. More than 300 pieces will be available, all at different price points.”
The Our Town Art Show opening night party will be held at TCH on October 13.
Tickets: (248)644-5832; tchserves.org. NS