Not every city can afford to adorn its downtown walls with classic art, but an innovative program from the Detroit Institute of Arts just might be the next best thing.
The Inside/Out program is in its third year and brings 80 reproductions of masterpieces from the DIA’s collection to the streets and parks of the greater Detroit area. The sight of a classic Renoir, Degas, or Van Gogh along one’s usual stroll through town is inspiring, both as a celebration of the works themselves and as a gentle reminder of the importance of culture in the towns where they are installed. When possible, the works are clustered within walking or biking distance of each other in an attempt to create a “grand, open-air gallery.”
Educational opportunities and photography contests are also part of the program, which help to create energy and buzz for the host cities and for the DIA.
I have written a lot in this blog and elsewhere on the importance of culture and authenticity in community building. Programs like the DIA’s Inside/Out can provide unique opportunities for cities, neighborhoods, and blocks to show themselves to the world for what they truly are – “one-of-a-kind” places to be celebrated for their individual charms.