By SHERRI KOLADE
HEIGHTS — The Detroit Institute of Arts is bringing art to surrounding Metro Detroit communities and hoping to garner attention and pique interest for children and adults alike.
For the past three years, through the DIA’s Inside-Out program, 80 reproductions of art from the museum’s collection have been in parks, on bike trail posts, playgrounds and other sites in the southeastern area of Michigan-and that is only the beginning.
DIA’s Community Relations Manager Kathryn Dimond spoke to a small crowd at the Caroline Kennedy Library May 2 about the importance of community outreach initiatives.
The Inside-Out program is displaying art in 12 communities within three counties in the area including Eastpointe, Roseville, Farmington, Farmington Hills, Wyandotte, Wayne, and Taylor.
This summer works in several cities will be unveiled as part of the latest Inside-Out program.
The program beganwhen DIA Director Graham Beal visited London in 2007, and he was inspired by works of art hanging around the city. The opportunity came three years later for the DIA to display their own works of art in different communities.
“The technology was not available to make reproductions until about 2010,” Dimond said.
The paintings are vinyl reproductions on aluminum backing; they are weather-resistant and stay up for about three months.
The program started in 2010 as a way to commemorate the DIA’s 125th anniversary.
Before the art was installed in the communities, residents asked the DIA if the art would be safe on the streets.
Dimond said in all 180 art locations, only two incidences of damage to the reproductions were reported.
“There was one stolen in Oxford and one was vandalized,” she said.
She added that a lot of people take them very seriously and the DIA often has a hard time removing the art because the community has fallen in love with the pieces.
Caroline Kennedy Librarian Rob Butler said the DIA art program is an important initiative.
“It shows what goes on at the DIA and gives people an opportunity to become more interested (in art),” Butler said.
Emmy J. Peck, president of the Friends of the Dearborn Heights Libraries, said she thinks art is something innate in people.
“It doesn’t matter if (people) are looking at art from ancient time to contemporary- art connects people and they become overall a smarter person who looks at world with a different eye,” she said.
Free DIA tours are available to communities where art is featured. For more information on the DIA’s Inside-Out program or to bring art to a community go to dia.org
(Sherri Kolade can be reached at [email protected])