Outdoor art will be installed in Ellet, Middlebury, West Akron and Sherbondy Hill May through October
— During the past two summers in and around Akron, you may have experienced a painting in an unexpected place—mounted on the side of a barber shop or café, or free-standing on posts in a neighborhood park.
This summer the outdoor art encounters continue, as four new neighborhoods are bringing artwork to their outdoor spaces and welcoming neighbors to participate in a shared art experience. Akron Art Museum’s popular community-activated art project Inside|Out will install high-quality reproductions of artwork from its collection in Ellet, Middlebury, West Akron and Sherbondy Hill and Copley Township from May through October 2017.
Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Inside|Out has enhanced the art museum’s ability to reach out to community members who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with art, and to invite new audiences back to the museum to experience its exhibitions and programs. The museum has also used Inside|Out to promote deeper inter-neighborhood relationships around the artworks and the ideas and discussions they spark.
For Copley Township, Inside|Out is an opportunity to build on recent successes. Founder and Chairperson of the Copley Circle Advisory Board Allison Taylor-Chrien said, “We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the Akron Art Museum’s Inside|Out communities for 2017 because the mission of the program aligns so perfectly with our efforts to highlight Copley’s physical and cultural diversity, to educate people about its history as we talk about its future, and to encourage residents to get out and explore their community, seeing it through different eyes. We’ve already achieved so much of this through last year’s Better Block, and Inside|Out is the ideal way to keep that momentum going.”
From 2015 through 2016, Inside|Out exhibited 40 high quality reproductions of two-dimensional artwork from the Akron Art Museum’s collection outside of its walls in 14 neighborhoods. The program, which the museum has used to create new connections with individuals and organizations in the community, has become an important part of the museum’s service to its mission: enriching lives through modern and contemporary art.
Inside|Out Program Coordinator Courtney Cable said, “Human engagement and interconnectedness is the heart of what creates a community and its culture, and ultimately showcases the character, strength and success of its people. By hosting artworks in public areas, neighbors across all communities are extended the invitation to participate in a shared common experience and to explore the diverse cultural riches each neighborhood holds. We hope to broaden conversation, build relationships and catalyze community involvement through social interactions around the modern and contemporary artists’ work represented in our collection.”
The art museum will install 10 outdoor Inside|Out artworks in each neighborhood. Brochures and maps of the installation sites will be distributed throughout each neighborhood and will be available at the Akron Art Museum and online at the museum’s website.
The Akron Art Museum staff will work with community partners to plan out the locations of the artwork and to create programming and events inspired by the artwork.
Artist Andre Williams from A. Will A. Way Art Creations said, “I’m very excited about the West Akron and Sherbondy Hill Community being chosen as a site for the Akron Art Museums Inside|Out initiative. I really look forward to help trying to bridge the gap between the community and the appreciation of various forms of art. I think this opportunity will lead to us being able to create some great events to get many community members out and exposed to exactly what the Akron Art Museum has to offer.”
Marissa Little, of Middlebury added, “In collaboration with the Invest Health Akron team, we plan to use this opportunity to engage residents in a neighborhood planning process, to encourage neighbors to look at their surroundings with a critical eye and to get people out walking and enjoying their neighborhood more.”
The Akron Art Museum joins four other cultural institutions across the country in presenting Inside|Out this summer, including the Detroit Institute of Arts in Michigan, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami in Florida.
Updates about the project will be posted on the Akron Art Museum’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Starting in late-April, downloadable maps and event information can be found at AkronArtMuseum.org/inside-out.