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Flashpoint: Looking back at 2015

As 2015 comes to a close, Devin Scillian takes a look back at the year’s headlines. Devin is joined by Detroit’s Mitch Albom to discuss his new book and his charity work. The new director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Salvador Salort-Pons, talks about what the DIA has to offer and what is to come. Devin is then joined by the Flashpoint Roundtable Panel to discuss the events of 2015 and what is to come and a second panel of community members to discuss the need for focus on Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Mitch Albom is a best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster, and musician. His 7th book, “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” is about a fictional guitar player who changes people’s lives with his guitar.

“The message of the book is everybody has a gift. Everybody has a talent,” Albom said. “I thought my talent was music. My whole life I thought that’s what I was going to be and when it didn’t work out for me, I kind of stumbled into newspaper writing.”

Devin mentioned how Albom had created a soundtrack for the book and encouraged readers to listen to it while they read.

Rumors were flying about Albom’s possible retirement from the Detroit Free Press and Albom said he is not leaving anytime soon.

Albom’s charity work was discussed and his radiothon for S.A.Y. Detroit was just weeks ago that raised over a million dollars.

“The best part is that a million dollars will be spent on the needy people in Detroit,” Albom said. “We are 100 percent dollar in dollar out.”

The conversation with Mitch Albom is available in the video above.

The Detroit Institute of Arts was under threat of losing its precious collection while the city faced bankruptcy. The vast collection is one of the largest in the country and under new leadership, the threat may never again be a possibility.

Salvador Salort-Pons, the new director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, had served as the director of the DIA’s European Art Department since 2011.

“It’s one of the best museums in the country and one of the most beautiful museums in the world,” Salort-Pons said.

Devin asked Salort-Pons what he thought of the idea of selling the institute’s art to get through the bankruptcy.

“As a European, or as a Spaniard, my country would never sell a collection like the collection at the Prado museum,” Salort-Pons said. “They would die of hunger before they would sell a painting.”

The DIA currently has “30 Americans” on exhibition, a showcase of contemporary art by African American artists which explores issues of racial, political, historical and gender identity in contemporary culture.

“It is a fantastic show,” Salort-Pons said. “It features 55 works by contemporary African American artists and it comes from the Rubell collection in Miami.”

The discussion about the Detroit Institute of Arts with Salvador Salort-Pons is available in the video to the right.

The year is wrapping up and the events of 2015 were ones to be remembered. The Flashpoint Roundtable Panel was comprised of Stephen Henderson, Editorial Page Director of the Detroit Free Press, Henry Payne, syndicated political cartoonist, Portia Roberson, Director of the Detroit Ethics and Civil Rights Division, and Nolan Finley, Editorial Page Director of the Detroit News.

The panel looked at the events of 2015 and discussed what is ahead for the city of Detroit and the country. That discussion is available in the videosbelow.

It is said that to have real change in Detroit, the focus needs to be on the neighborhoods. The second Flashpoint Panel was comprised of Charlie Beckham, group executive of Detroit neighborhoods, Marshall Bullock, Detroit Community Affairs coordinator, Stephanie Young, district manager of District 1, and Vince Keenan, the district manager of District 6.

The panel’s conversation is available in the video below.