Ferndale selected as location for DIA’s Inside|Out program

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published February 12, 2021

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FERNDALE — Come springtime, downtown Ferndale will be one of more than two dozen communities that will host art reproductions for the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Inside|Out program.

This year will mark the 12th edition of the Inside|Out program in metro Detroit, during which the DIA installs many reproductions from its collection of art in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties. In total, 26 communities were selected for the program, and each will receive four to 10 pieces of art to install.

Ferndale’s selection is something the city’s communications director, Kara Sokol, said the Arts and Cultural Commission pursued to bring to the city. Sokol is the staff liaison to the commission.

“I know working with the group that, especially year two in the pandemic, they’re really looking for ways that the city can come together, that residents can return to having events and involvement, but maybe in a less face-to-face way than we did before,” she said. “So if there’s an arts program, particularly if it’s something we can tie to a biking event, something that’s wheelchair accessible so it’s (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible, people can do it on their own time in small groups, it’s a way to kind of have togetherness but not necessarily have thousands of people together.”

The DIA puts out a call each year for communities to apply to be selected for Inside|Out. Once the applications are submitted, said Regional Public Relations Manager Megan Hawthorne, the DIA’s community engagement team evaluates the cities to make final selections.

“It’s oftentimes based on what communities haven’t we been able to be a part of yet,” she said. “We try and circle through so that someone’s not having it three years in a row, which many communities would love to, and if we have the capabilities, obviously that would be great, but we try and kind of rotate through different communities.”

The installations of the art pieces will begin in May, and they’ll be featured in the communities through October. The works will be placed in areas of the communities that are within walking or biking distance.

From now until May, Hawthorne said, the community engagement team will work with its art installer to look at the available reproductions.

“We work with the community and take a look at the areas that they’re going in to try and pick artworks that fit with the area. … They take in the visual aspects of where the art’s going to be installed as well as trying to have a variety of different types of art,” she said.

No areas of Ferndale have been officially selected yet to be a location for an art piece, with Sokol saying they’re still sorting out locations but that it’s the commission’s goal is to have the entire installation be walkable.

“I know they’re trying to center their locations in and around the downtown, both east and west side so that basically if you start at one, within the entirety of the stretch of Nine Mile, you should be able to walk to all of them,” she said.

Sokol said one issue they’re dealing with is evaluating private and public properties for where the art can be installed. As of now, some businesses have been identified as potential locations, as well as Schiffer Park, the Ferndale Area District Library’s courtyard and The dot, but Sokol reiterated that nothing is final.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do to figure out whether or not it’s doable; whether we can get permission,” she said.