Traveling around Metro Detroit you may notice stores, restaurants, parks, and other public spaces have artwork on display that looks like it should be in a museum.  Actually these are high-quality reproductions of masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) that are being shown at outdoor venues as part of a community outreach program called INSIDE|OUT encouraging people to visit the museum.  2017 marks the 8th year the DIA has put on the program in collaboration with local communities and financial support from the Knight Foundation.  This year’s INSIDE|OUT collection consists of 120 pieces that are being featured in 11 communities from April through July.  Also for the first time, the DIA is collaborating with the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History to include reproductions of 10 objects from their permanent collection amongst the INSIDE|OUT displays.

Be on the lookout for all sorts of different imagery as the INSIDE|OUT collection consists of pieces representing a variety artistic styles and time periods to expose the public to the diversity of the museums’ collections.  Each one is produced both to provide a vibrant, art gallery quality visual experience as well as to be able to weather the elements while being accessible at outdoor venues.  Every image is also accompanied by a plaque that includes information about the artwork.  Take a moment to learn about the artist who created it and find out some interesting trivia.

Every year my family picks a few of the communities hosting the INSIDE|OUT exhibit and has some fun exploring them looking for the displays.  It makes for a great scavenger hunt!  Have a competition with friends and family to see who can be the first to get a selfie with all the images or have a trivia contest based upon the content on the artwork’s informational plaques.   These are a sight to take in so if you are visiting the Detroit area I’d recommend keeping an eye out for the INSIDE|OUT displays while you are traveling about.

You can discover INSIDE|OUT displays from Sunday, April 16, 2017 through Sunday, July 16, 2017 spread throughout these Michigan cities:  Brighton, Clawson, Farmington, Franklin, Fraser, Detroit (Lafayette Park), Mount Clemens, Novi, Plymouth, Taylor and Wayne.  Then from Tuesday August 1, 2017 through Tuesday, October 31, 2017 the DIA will install INSIDE|OUT at locations throughout the Detroit International Wildlife Refuge, which consists of more than 5,000 acres of preserved habitat along the Detroit River and Lake Erie shorelines, including the new visitor center which is opening this summer.  During that time period, the exhibit will also be on display in Hines Park along a six-mile stretch of roadway that becomes a motor-vehicle-free zone on Saturdays during Michigan’s warm weather months.  Grab a bike and take a ride through this park that winds through six of Detroit’s western suburbs while you enjoy the art on display.

“Art has the powerful ability to unify, and INSIDE|OUT allows us to bring people together outside of the museum walls,” DIA Director Salvador Salort-Pons said when announcing this year’s continuation of the program.  “We see ourselves as more than a museum; we use art to encourage connections and improve understanding among our diverse communities.”

If you are in southeastern Michigan get outside and explore the area.  In addition to coming across some great artwork, you’ll also encounter a tremendous restaurant scene (Detroit was named one of the best cities for food lovers to visit in 2017 by National Geographic), unique storefronts, relaxing parks, and lots of fun things to do.  Have you ever feather bowled or played fowling?  Oh and of course don’t miss out on visiting the Detroit Institute of Arts which is a treasure trove of some of the world’s most valuable art.

Share your INSIDE|OUT art encounters with @travelingdads on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #DIAinsideout and #InsideOutUSA.  Let us know the favorite display you come across.

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