Monday, January 10, 2011

Ford's Driving Green Technology Event - Day 1

My trip to Detroit from Minneapolis was relatively uneventful (thankfully). While the 20-something degree temperature in Detroit was a shock to many of the 100 attending bloggers from across the US and 14 countries around the world, it was actually a nice increase of about 10 degrees from our frosty Minnesota weather.

After checking into the Motor City Casino Hotel, I had to quickly get ready for dinner at the Detroit Institute of Art. The cocktail reception for the event was held in the Diego Rivera Gallery. I am a big fan of Rivera's work. During college I did a J-term study in Mexico and saw his works in the National Palace in Mexico City and Cort├ęs Palace in Cuernavaca. This work, entitled Detroit Industry, is comprised of 27 fresco panels covering the four walls of Diego Court, which was originally open-air, but is now enclosed. We were given an introduction by Edsel Ford, II - the grandson of Edsel Ford, who had the work commissioned. Detroit Industry was quite controversial in its day for a number of reasons. Among them were the scenes it depicted, stemming from Rivera's Marxist philosophy. Scenes of workers of many races working side by side were also "uncomfortable" for many. And, since it was completed during the Great Depression, objection was made that the work was given to a Mexican artist, rather than to an American.  Today, however, Detroit Industry is recognized as the masterpiece that it is and is a focal feature of the Detroit Institute of Art.

Mr. Ford also gave us a brief insight into what we'll be discovering over the next few days about Ford's green initiatives.  Some quick fun "trivia" notes include that they are making seats from renewable materials such as soy and the roof of every new Ford Focus contains two pairs of recycled jeans - - how cool is that?!?

Before and during dinner we also had a bit of time to view the open galleries of European art.  They had many wonderful pieces by Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir, Rodin and many others.  Dinner itself was delicious and I had to the opportunity to meet several other bloggers as well as Ford employees.

I'm quite excited for day two with a trip to the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) with plenty of press conferences and information sessions with Ford planned for the day.

Disclosure: I was invited to participate in this program by Clever Girls Collective, Inc. in partnership with Ford and Ogilvy PR. Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations at the 2-day Driving Green Technology event, I was not compensated in any other manner for my time. My opinions posted here are my own. 

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