DIA brings art to the masses

By: Kurt Buesching | April 18, 2012

Don’t be surprised if you spy a Van Gogh painting along a major thoroughfare in Metro Detroit. It’s part of the Detroit Institute of Arts Inside / Out program, which is bringing 80 reproductions of fine art to 11 communities this spring.

The program, now in its third year and sponsored for 2012 and 2013 by the Knight Foundation, stations free standing reproductions of various masterpieces in prominent locations. For example, Taylor’s Heritage Park is showcasing Renoir’s “Woman in an Armchair.” The Village Grill at the McCourt Building in Grosse Pointe sports “Portrait of Postman Roulin” by Van Gough.

Inside / Out provides a way to not only promote attendance at the DIA, but to “help people develop personal relationships with art,” said Michelle Hauske, site coordinator for the program.

To that end, the DIA is hosting a “free day” for each community involved, which entitles residents to up to four free museum admissions with their driver’s license on those specified days. The DIA then provides a museum map to the works of art that are stationed in their communities, so they can see them in the museum setting.

“The interest is really quite remarkable,” said Kathryn Dimond, community relations manager for the DIA. “I love that people are calling them ‘their’ paintings.”

The communities hosting art now through April 30 are Bloomfield, Clarkston, Eastpointe and Roseville,Farmington, Farmington Hills, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Woods, Grosse Pointe Shores, Grosse Pointe Park, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mount Clemens, Southfield, Taylor, Wayne and Wyandotte.

Each reproduction is a high resolution digital photograph printed on sturdy vinyl and framed in a polyurethane-coated wooden frame. The works are as close to original size as possible, and were chosen to fit their surroundings.

The program benefits communities by giving them public art and also by drawing people to the areas where the art is displayed, Hauske said. “Each community uses it differently,” she said.

DIA Clarkston

Some are hosting walking and bike tours to get people outdoors to view the art.

Wyandotte, which is showcasing a reproduction of John Singleton Copley’s “Watson and the Shark” created buzz with an April Fool’s press release announcing a shark citing in the Detroit River near Bishop Park. So if you see a t-shirt that says “I Survived the Wyandotte Shark Attack,” you now know the story behind it.

Farmington is hosting Fine Art Friday Nights featuring art walks and other events designed to bring people to the city and its businesses.

Bloomfield Township is hosting a senior-citizen bus tour of not only the art in its community but in also in neighboring cities.

Mount Clemens, which participated in Inside / Out last year, hosted a full moon tour, and only two of the participants were from Mount Clemens, which points to another benefit of the program, said Dimond. “It’s getting people to go and look at other communities,” she said.

The DIA is also promoting the program on Facebook (www.facebook.com/dia.insideout), encouraging community members to post photos they take of the art work in their communities, and also to comment on the art they see.

After the spring “tour” concludes, there will be a July through September display in 13 communities, Dimond said, noting that the DIA is encouraging schools to use the program as an educational opportunity.

For more information, visit www.dia.org.