Art Inside Out
By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Art imitates life – and brightens it – in the DIA’s Inside Out program, which brings high-quality reproductions from its collection to surrounding communities, often thematically tied to its placement.
Allen Park’s Downtown Development Authority applied for the city, which was selected to display 12 art reproductions from August through the end of October.
The DIA Inside Out program, now in its eighth year, brings art to the streets, engaging people where they live, work and play. Its aim is to encourage connections, understanding and appreciation for art. The program has reached more than 100 communities to date.
APDDA Executive Director Jennifer Kibby said city officials are excited because it is the first time the city has been accepted for the program and they received 12 painting reproductions, the maximum number of installations allowed in one location.
Kibby said she gave the DIA a list of suggested sites, and the DIA tries to match the painting to the location. A reproduction of Claude Monet’s colorful “Gladioli” rises from the DDA’s sidewalk flower bed, with the painting’s colors matching the vibrancy of the blossoms surrounding it.
“Across the street (from the DDA) at the wedding hall is ‘The Wedding Dance,’ so they really try to pick them to match,” Kibby said. “We worked together. They have a selection of paintings and they picked the ones that were best for us.”
She said none of the reproductions in Allen Park have been displayed in Wayne County before, so people who have seen other installations Downriver will see new displays.
“Lots of people go from place to place, so they won’t see the same thing, which I think is pretty cool,” Kibby said. “People are thrilled, and I really hope it will inspire the demand for more public art.”
She said Allen Park really doesn’t have any outdoor art.
“We don’t have any,” she said. “The only thing I can think of is the dog in front of Baker College – that’s it.”
She said the city will plan events to encourage people to find each of the dozen displays.
“When I talked to the DIA, they said for a lot of communities, this started the push for more public art,” Kibby said. “So hopefully, we’ll see.”
She said the painting at the Pocket Park, at Allen Road and White Street, brings the park’s recent improvements into the public eye. The park’s lighting makes the art visible at night.
“It’s lots of fun to see people out looking at them and talking about them,” Kibby said.
Kibby, who held a rock painting event at the Farmer’s Market this summer, hopes to hold another to tie into the art displays and the upswing in interest in Downriver Rocks, an informal group in which people paint, hide, share and post painted rocks found on social media before re-hiding them for others to find, with the option of keeping the rocks they find.
The Allen Park Library, 8100 Allen Road, will hold host an informal presentation about the DIA Inside Out installations in Allen Park at 6 p.m. Sept. 26. People are encouraged to call the library at 313-381-2426 to register.
Kibby said she is reaching out to the schools, hoping they will take advantage of the displays to help students understand and appreciate art.
The locations of the art makes it easily accessible to people attending downtown events. Most of Allen Park’s Inside Out art installations are located near downtown, within walking and biking distance of each other.
In addition to the reproductions at the DDA, 6543 Allen Rd., and the Red Fawn/Prestige Banquet Center, art is on display at Allen Park Cinema, 6601 Allen, which hosts Nattier’s “Aurora;” Pocket Park, Allen and White, which displays Backhuysen’s “Coastal Scene with a Man-O-War and other Vessels;” and “Syria by the Sea,” by Church, at the Parks and Recreation Building, 15800 White Street.
“Neptune, God of Waters” by an unknown Flemish painter, is on display at the American Legion, 6737 Allen Road; with “Winter Landscape in Moonlight” by Kirchner at Baskin Robbins, 7205 Allen Road; and “Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket” at Luke and Lulu’s Cafe, 7706 Allen Road.
The Allen Park Public Library, 8100 Allen Road, has Keihau’s “Young Girl Sleeping,” with Collin’s “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall,16736 Ecorse Road.
The Smile Clinic, 17007 Ecorse Road, hosts Wheatley’s “The Wilkinson Family,” while the Allen Park Farmer’s Market, 7101 Park Avenue, is home to van Honthorst’s “Portrait of Sophia, Princess Palatine.”
For a map of the Allen Park paintings, go to facebook.com/diainallenpark.
For more information about the DIA’s Inside Out program, go to dia.org/events/insideout.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)