Last week, I had the privilege of attending a private event, sponsored by Ford Motor Company, at the Detroit Insititute of Arts. The building itself was an impressive, classical-style building that reminded me of the Art Institute of Chicago and other fine art museums I've visitied around the world. I had no idea that Detroit had such a grand and historic art museum.
The reception was held in the Diego Rivera Courtyard, which housed four walls of fresco paintings entitled "Detroit Industry" and were really incredible to see.
During the reception, we were welcomed by Edsel Ford II, Henry Ford's great-grandson. Mr. Ford acted as an unofficial ambassador to Detroit, explaining some of the rich history of the city and its relationship to the auto industry, particularly as it was represented in the mural and building that surrounded us.
The Clever Girls are at it again, and this time, the cleveristas are putting efforts towards supporting a cause close to my heart: Heart of Haiti, a non-profit dedicate to helping rebuild Haiti. The group is selling handmade arts and crafts from Haitian artisans through Macy's Heart of Haiti: Shop for a Better World program.
The program is the brainchild of Fairwinds Trading Company CEO Willa Shalit. Willa's company is dedicate to bringing the work of artists in developing nations to a wider audience, providing a much-needed source of income and support to people across the globe. I've bought jewelry and small bags in local shops from Fairwinds, and love that they have turned their attention to the grave situation in Haiti.
The earthquake that devastated the country on January 12, 2010 made it nearly impossible for many to make a living or rebuild what they had lost. These artisans found a way to take simple, and often recycled materials, and turn them into a celebration of Haiti's culture, and make a living for themselves.
We have been to several islands in the Carribean over the years, and purchased a number of colorful, decorative items for our home. The selection in the Heart of Haiti "shop" reminded me of the markets we visited in the Bahamas, St. Maarten, and Aruba. Even if you've never been to Haiti or other islands in the Carribean, you can add a little local flair to your kitchen with colorful bowls, wall art and jewelry from this collection. By doing so, in a small way, you help the people of Haiti to rebuild after the devastating earthquake of 2010.
Thanks to the Clever Girls Collective and the fine people at Ford Motor Company, I've been invited to participate in the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) press event on Monday and Tuesday. I'll be with a group of about 100 bloggers and media people from around the world who get to see a sneak peak of what Ford is presenting at NAIAs this year. I leave for Detroit tomorrow, and I am excited to find out what Ford has in store for us. I've heard the emphasis this year is on green technology and environmental sustainability, which makes it doubly exciting for me.
Since we just spent two weeks in our car driving halfway across the country, I now consider myself an expert on things like gas mileage (our current car was meh), comfort, and entertainment in cars. Also, if they have any tips on how to get the smell of rotten French fries out of the carpet, I'm all ears.
When I had the chance to try out the Lincoln MKT and Ford Taurus, I was impressed on all counts. Ford has come a long way in terms of green technology, high tech amenities, comfort and style from my Grandpa's Ford Fairlane to now. I can't wait to see what Ford has planned for the next generation of cars. Electric? Hybrid? Levitating? Rocket-powered? Invisible? Who knows? I'd like an invisible, levitating rocket-car for dealing with Bay Area traffic, but will settle for one that gets more than 40 mpg.
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Disclosure: I was invited to participate in this program by Clever Girls Collective, Inc. in partnership with Ford and Ogilvy PR. Ford Motor Company is paying for my travel and accommodations at the 2-day Driving Green Technology event, I will not be compensated in any other manner for my time. My opinions posted here are my own.
PHOTO: Lincoln MKT that I got to try out in 2009, courtesy of Ford. Sadly, it's not mine, but I did take the photo.