Replicas of famous artwork displayed through August

By: Cortney Casey, Erin McClary | Rochester Post | Published July 20, 2011


ROCHESTER — As an employee, Michelle Hauske is exposed to the famed works at the Detroit Institute of Arts on a daily basis.

But seeing them surrounded by trees, scattered along paths and affixed to municipal buildings, she said, is like experiencing them anew.

Hauske hopes the public is equally enchanted by Inside|Out, a DIA program that brings reproductions of some of the facility’s masterpieces to the masses via outdoor displays.

“We joke that you’re seeing art in its natural environment,” quipped Hauske, site coordinator for the program. “They’ve escaped, they’re running around wild.”

The DIA founded Inside|Out last year as part of its 125th anniversary festivities, placing 40 reproductions of “our most important or most popular pieces” throughout southeastern Michigan, said Hauske.

The city of Rochester was one of the pilot cities for the 2010 program. Rochester Downtown Development Authority Director Kristi Trvarrow said that even though the city only had two pieces on display for the first go-around, the public was pleased they were there.

The communities that participated in the pilot were universally enthusiastic. “The program was so successful — we received letters, emails and phone calls — that we decided to repeat it, and we’re expanding,” Hauske said.

For its second incarnation, Inside|Out doubled its inventory, installing 80 pieces, clustered in groups of six or seven, in nearly a dozen cities at a time. The current lending cycle extends through August; the artwork will then rotate to other communities September-November, April-June 2012 and July-September 2012.

“We hope that people are surprised and excited to see these pieces,” said Hauske. “Of course, we hope they come back to the museum to see the real thing, compare.”

Rochester is among the cities that currently have artwork on display. Trevarrow said there was no question whether the city wanted to be part of it again.

“We absolutely jumped right on the opportunity,” she said.

The seven pieces the city has scattered along its Paint Creek and Clinton River trails and along the side streets of downtown are getting even more attention this year.

“This year is definitely more interesting — there’s more pieces, but DIA is also doing a lot more to promote the program,” she said.

On Aug. 14, anyone who lives in Rochester can gain free admission to the DIA as part of the program.

Rochester is also doing its part to promote the outdoor works.

During the city’s Restaurant Week, on Aug. 11, the Royal Park Hotel will host a speaker from the DIA who will give a presentation on the artwork and provide a tour of the pieces scattered around downtown. On Aug. 13, the city has coordinated a bike tour with the DIA that will embark from the Rochester Farmers Market, taking riders on a guided exploration of the works. And throughout the summer, Rochester-Avon Historical Society President Rod Wilson will be incorporating the pieces into his historical tours of downtown Rochester.

There’s also talk of the DDA hosting a citywide photo contest with the pieces in mid-August, but nothing has been finalized with that, said Trevarrow.

“Last year people thought it was really interesting, especially only having two pieces,” she said. “This year I think there’s a little more behind it, and people really understand what it is.”

At the July 25 Rochester City Council meeting, representatives of the DIA are expected to publicly thank the city for participating this year and to talk a little about the program.

Rochester is among the June-August cities for 2011. The others include Sterling Heights, Romeo, St. Clair Shores, New Baltimore, Novi, Livonia, Brooklyn, Manchester, Howell and Milan.

The program doesn’t cost the participating cities anything, and Hauske said that in all participating cities, most of the pieces are close enough together for residents to walk or bike to see them.

All of the reproductions are printed on vinyl, and while the majority are replicas of paintings, there’s a handful of other media represented, including a Japanese folding screen, a Babylonian mosaic, an ancient Egyptian encaustic painting, a flag and two tapestries, said Hauske.

The replicas are elegantly framed and look so true to the originals that the DIA has received calls from concerned passers-by, worried that the paintings are real and will be damaged by the elements, she laughed.

The hardest part is returning to retrieve the artwork at the end of the three-month period, said Hauske.

“When it was scheduled to come down last year, the owners were really sad that they were coming down,” she said. “They wanted us to leave it up permanently. Everybody I’ve talked to has been so energized about this program.”

According to Hauske, each community is planning its own events in conjunction with the exhibits. Guitar said Sterling is coordinating a presentation with DIA representatives at the Sterling Heights Public Library in August, and is considering a hike/bike tour to take visitors past every piece.

For more information about the DIA Inside|Out program, visit and click the “Exhibitions & Events” tab.