DetroitFebruary 5, 2014
Enjoy art in the great outdoors
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
DETROIT — Masterpieces by artists like Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh will be on the move this summer.
For the fifth year, high-quality reproductions of some of the most beloved works in the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection will be making their way to local street corners, cafés, parks and other public outdoor spaces as part of the Inside|Out project.
During a press conference Jan. 17, DIA officials announced the list of communities that will be receiving several of the more-than 80 reproductions this year, including at least one new artwork.
The spring municipalities are: Auburn Hills, Center Line, Detroit, Imlay City, Lapeer, Pontiac, Romulus, Southfield and Wolcott Mill Metropark in Ray Township. The summer municipalities are: Brownstown Township, Dearborn, Detroit, Mount Clemens, Oak Park, Royal Oak, St. Clair Shores and Wixom.
Each community will receive between five and 12 reproductions that are to be displayed within walking or biking distance of each other. There are two sets of three-month installations each year. The spring edition of Inside|Out is April to July, and the summer edition is August to October.
It’s up to the participating cities to determine art locations and related programming, said Gabby Bryant, a DIA community relations specialist and Inside|Out program manager.
“We’ve been really inspired by the programs the communities have come up with,” she said.
Eight of the cities chosen this year are new to Inside|Out, but the others have hosted the art before and say it was a positive experience for residents and visitors. DIA Community Relations Director Kathryn Dimond said communities who’ve had Inside|Out before will receive different artworks than they had previously, unless they wanted a particular piece again.
The specific locations and artworks each community would be getting hadn’t been finalized at press time. When placements are determined, they’ll be spotlighted on an interactive map available on the DIA’s website, www.dia.org.
Southfield Community Relations Manager Michael Manion said his city was chosen for Inside|Out a couple of years ago.
“It was a hugely popular program,” he said. “The community was very responsive to finding the art in unexpected places.”
Manion said they had related programs like walking tours and talks by DIA representatives before, and they’ll likely have similar activities this year. The city also plans to feature its own interactive map linked to their website, he said.
This will mark the second time Mount Clemens has had this program, said Anne Lilla, executive director of the Anton Art Center in downtown Mount Clemens.
“We’re working with the city and the Downtown Development Authority to choose some good sites (for the art) and to plan a series of programs that will result in people enjoying this fabulous art and coming to our city,” she said.
This will be the third time St. Clair Shores has participated in Inside|Out. Greg Esler, the city’s director of parks and recreation, said when they initially got involved, city officials were surprised to see that despite the city’s relative proximity to the museum, DIA attendance by St. Clair Shores residents was relatively light.
Because the city has “one of the biggest playground programs in the state of Michigan,” Esler said they especially hope to introduce the children to fine art. During one of the previous years of Inside|Out, he said they brought kids from the playground program to the DIA, and 95 percent of them had never been there before.
“We want to get the schools involved,” Esler said. “We want to have some big events with this and educate the young and bring them down here (to the DIA) so that for years to come, they’ll preserve the legacy of the DIA.”
One of the places in St. Clair Shores where art is headed is Beaumont Family Medicine, on 11 Mile at Harper.
“What we’re trying to do is bring awareness of the links between art and medicine, and (show) the benefit it provides both physiologically and psychologically,” said Dr. Asha Shajahan, of Beaumont Family Medicine. She said they plan to conduct a health and wellness event that will feature a performance by the Detroit Medical School Orchestra — made up of musicians who attend local medical schools.
“We think fine art is good medicine,” Shajahan said.
Dimond said this program has enabled the museum to build relationships with communities that continue long after the artworks are taken down.
“We want to continue those relationships as a way to build community,” she said.
The communities have made connections among each other, as well, which Bryant said is “great to see.”
From flashlight tours to a bus crawl, the cities have all come up with different activities to engage their residents as they enjoy the art. DIA Director Graham Beal based Inside|Out on a similar program at the National Gallery in London, making it the first of its kind in the United States, but since its 2010 launch here, it has been replicated in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Grand Rapids and other cities, Dimond said.
For an interactive map — once locations are finalized — or more information about Inside|Out or the DIA, visit the DIA’s Inside|Out Facebook page or www.dia.org.