John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ to open art exhibit at Detroit broadcast museum

Museum, Gleaners to receive $10,000 from HBO show

John Oliver arrives at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, at L.A. Live in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) (Chris Pizzello, Invision)

HBO’s “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is opening a handful of art exhibits at museums around the country in December and donating money to them, including one in Detroit.

Detroit’s William V. Banks Broadcast Museum & Media Center is one of just five museums across the country selected to receive $10,000 in COVID relief funds from the show.

The museum will also display a three-piece art collection selected by John Oliver. An additional $10,000 from Oliver will go to Gleaners Community Food Bank.

According to a release, the traveling art collection is titled “Last Week Tonight’s Masterpiece Gallery” and features three unique paintings, including an unusual portrait of television talk show host Wendy Williams. In addition, the museum will display a greeting card for Wendy that visitors can sign. Due to the mature nature of one of the other art pieces featuring two cuddling rats, children should be accompanied by an adult.

The art exhibit will be available for viewing at the museum, located at 3146 East Jefferson Avenue, from 11:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from December 3 through December 18.

Admission to Last Week Tonight’s Masterpiece Gallery is free. However, visitors are encouraged to bring canned fruits and vegetables for Gleaners Community Food Bank to further support the efforts of the nonprofit to provide nutritious food to families facing hunger this holiday season.

“It is quite an honor to be selected as one of the museums to host this exhibition and to receive these much-needed funds,” said Joe Spencer, president of the WGPR Historical Society, which founded the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum & Media Center.  “John Oliver recognizes that many museums were struggling during the pandemic, and he stepped up to offer relief funds.  We are extremely grateful that our application was accepted, and we look forward to welcoming visitors to our museum to view Oliver’s humorous selection of paintings. They will also have the opportunity to see our interactive exhibits and displays celebrating the historic achievements of the country’s first African-American owned and operated television station, WGPR-TV62.”

About WGPR Historical Society

The nonprofit WGPR Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the history of Detroit’s WGPR-TV62, the nation’s first African-American owned and operated television station. The WGPR Historical Society founded the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum & Media Center in 2017. The state-of-the-art, interactive museum is named after WGPR’s founder, Dr. William V. Banks, founder of the International Free and Accepted Modern Masons, Inc. and Order of Eastern Star. It is located inside the landmark building housing the original television and radio studios. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year and is also designated as a Michigan historical landmark. WGPR-TV62 officially began broadcasting on September 29, 1975 and remained on the air for 20 years, until its sale to CBS in 1995. WGPR’s sister radio station, 107.5 FM, remains on the air.


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital special projects manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013.