Major museums take art into the streets with Inside|Out

arts / Article

There’s something very powerful about seeing an iconic work of art in person.

If you’ve ever watched people looking at art in a museum, you know this is true. For a moment, the viewer is completely immersed in the work. That’s what makes visiting a museum so memorable. But what would happen if you bring those pieces out of the museum and took them into the streets?

That’s what the Detroit Institute of Arts asked in 2010 when it first launched Inside|Out. The program brings ornately-framed, high-quality reproductions of masterworks from the museums iconic collection into the streets and parks of Detroit. To date, the DIA has installed more than 800 Inside|Out reproductions in 100 neighborhoods in and around Detroit. Six years later, there is still a waiting list for the program.


#DIAInsideOut installation is complete in all of our spring 2015 communities! Visit for a complete list of participating cities and downloadable maps. #diadetroit #detroitinstituteofarts

A photo posted by Detroit Institute of Arts (@diadetroit) on

What truly makes Inside|Out so incredible is that residents have taken ownership of the program. Community members organize everything from bike tours, wine tastings, photo contests and even zombie runs around the reproductions. Inside|Out makes people feel connected to these works of art, to their community and to their museum.

This project fits squarely into the Knight Foundation arts program mission of bringing art into people’s everyday lives. Today, Knight is announcing it has committed $2 million in funding to bring the Inside|Out program to museums across the eight Knight resident communities.


We are so excited about #InsideOutAkron ! I've always loved "The Artist and His Wife" by Elmer Novotny. I was so excited to see this on the side of Giovanni's Barber Shop. Why not pull over for a quick snap shot on a beautiful day? Too cool. @akronartmuseum

A photo posted by Chris Rutan (@chrisrutan) on

This spring, the Akron Art Museum launched Inside|Out with installations in North Hill, Towpath Trail & Metro Parks and Downtown Akron. Residents and local businesses have activated the work in new and exciting ways. The International Institute of Akron, a nonprofit that welcomes immigrants and refugees to the city, have been incorporating Inside|Out installations into their English classes. In the Akron Art Museum’s Inside|Out Tour App you can listen to Poet Laureate and Akron native Rita Dove speak about The Eviction by Ray Grathwol, which is part of this summer’s exhibition.


Art installation at the #philadelphiaprintshop...We are getting ready for the upcoming Inside Out Art Project in #chesnuthillpa and #mtairy! #artinsideout @gomtairy #artalonggermantownavenue #philaartmuseum @philamuseum

A photo posted by Chestnut Hill PA (@chestnuthill_pa) on

The Philadelphia Museum of Art officially kicked off its Inside|Out program last month. Reproductions of works by Claude Monet, Paul Cézanne, Georgia O’Keeffe, Diego Rivera and others have sprung up on the walls of businesses and playgrounds in five neighborhoods across the region. These installations are already delighting residents with surprise encounters with art around the corner from where they live, work and play.

This fall, we will also see the launch of Inside|Out in Miami, helmed by the Pérez Art Museum Miami, which will display its contemporary works. We can’t wait to see how Miami will make the Inside|Out program its own and to watch the program launch in the rest of our communities in coming years.

Photo credit (motorcyclist, costume contest winner): Courtesy of Detroit Institute of Arts

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