In which neighborhoods would you like to see art from the Akron Art Museum? The Museum’s Inside|Out, community-activated art project will return in 2017 to four new communities in and around Akron.
Forty high-quality reproductions of iconic artworks in the Akron Art Museum collection—10 per community—will find their way into the neighborhoods and outdoor spaces this summer for a new, extended viewing period from May through October.
The art museum is seeking suggestions from the public for the 2017 communities. An online application form is available at www.AkronArtMuseum.org/inside-out through Feb. 27. Ideal communities will have walkable outdoor spaces and be willing to offer two additional public events in their neighborhoods in conjunction with the museum. Participation is free for interested communities.
Inside|Out program coordinator Courtney Cable said, “This year, the work will be installed for six months, as opposed to previous years where two different sets of work were on view for three months in each location. With a full six-month installation, partnering communities will have the opportunity to create a stronger impact for their neighbors by coordinating unique programs with the museum in connection to the artwork.”
Inside|Out is funded by a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It began in Detroit at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2010. The Akron Art Museum brought the program to Akron in 2015 and The Knight Foundation has since spread Inside|Out to Philadelphia, Miami and Charlotte.
In two years, the art museum has shared 40 artworks across 14 communities and outdoor spaces, including North Hill, Highland Square and West Hill, Barberton, Kent, Cuyahoga Falls, Summit Lake, Kenmore, Firestone Park, Goodyear Heights, Merriman Valley and in the Summit Metro Parks and along the Ohio and Erie Towpath Trail.
With the assistance of more than 20 community partners in the various neighborhoods, Inside|Out has helped the Akron Art Museum connect to community members of all ages and to bring quality art experiences to many people beyond the physical walls of the museum.
Cable said, “At the Akron Art Museum, our mission is to enrich lives through modern and contemporary art. We believe that art is for everyone. We’ve been able to enhance our ability to serve our mission because Inside|Out helps us to make connections with organizations and people all over town in such an active and direct way.”
Angela Miller of Kenmore, who sees herself as an accidental community organizer, described her experience with Inside|Out, saying, “It was a positive experience all the way around.” Miller also said the excitement within her community was amplified online, which helped spur additional interest from others in the neighborhood.
Local businesses took pride in hosting the pieces as well. Smith’s House of Carpet held a public unveiling for the artwork installed at its store, complete with food and music. 2 Live Music Superstore, a Kenmore business specializing in urban music, experienced an increase in foot traffic among those whose curiosity was aroused by the Inside|Out artwork mounted to the exterior wall of the store—The 2009 painting by artist James Gobel, I’ll Be Your Friend, I’ll Be Your Love, I’ll Be Everything You Need. Gobel’s artwork depicts a colorful portrait of a bearded, large-bellied man dressed in working-class clothing holding a microphone and has been a favorite among museum visitors since it was exhibited in 2010 as part of the Pattern ID exhibition.
Updates about Inside|Out will be posted on the Akron Art Museum’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Starting in mid-April, downloadable maps and event information can be found at AkronArtMuseum.org/inside-out. The Inside|Out Tour App (insideoutakron.toursphere.com), available for use in your mobile device’s browser, contains maps of Inside|Out installations and additional information about the artists and artworks. Selected artworks also contain audio commentary provided by Akron community members.
Search #InsideOutAkron and #InsideOutUSA on social media.