Last summer, the Philadelphia Art Museum’s “Inside Out” program installed 60 life-size reproductions of paintings from its collection in unusual places around the region — including a dog park and in front of a neighborhood bar.
“What we are always amazed by is the joy people feel with when the art is in their own communities,” said Timothy Rub, museum CEO. “That was the takeaway from last year.”
The program continues this summer, expanding the inventory to 70 masterpieces placed on the streets of 11 cities, boroughs, and neighborhoods in the greater Philadelphia region. Starting this week, the museum will begin installations in Doylestown, Narberth, Lansdowne, Coatesville, Tacony and Old City.
Rub said of all the outreach programs his staff undertakes, this one generates the most enthusiasm.
“Sometimes the simplest gestures are the most profound and most important. Reaching out and seeing the communities reach back to us has been remarkably gratifying,” said Rub.
On Tuesday, Rub spoke at the Art Museum to a gathering of community partners, each set to receive about a dozen art reproductions installed in front of public buildings, parks, banks, and small businesses.
The museum tried to match the art to the location. A suit of armor from the 16th century will be installed near the National Steel Heritage Museum in Coatesville. Amid the sidewalk cafes on Market Street in Old City will be “Man in Café” by the Cubist painter Juan Gris.
“I hope we provided the appropriate image for you. Last year in front of a bar we had Edouard Manet’s ‘Le Bon Bock,’ which is a man drinking beer. I hope we’ve done it again,” said Rub, gesturing to a representative of a beer distributor in Narberth. He got the nod. “We have. That’s good.”
Le Bon Bock by Edouard Manet (1873) will be displayed outside the Narberth Beverage Co. in Narberth, Pa. (Philadelphia Museum of Art/The Mr. and Mrs. Carroll S. Tyson Jr., Collection, 1963)
Even other museums are getting bounty from the Philadelphia Art Museum. A painting by the Bucks County impressionist Daniel Garber, “Tanis,” a portrait of the artist’s daughter, will go in front of the Michener Museum in Doylestown. The original painting is currently on temporary loan inside the Michener. Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse called it a “perfect marriage.”
“The Michener has trained docents about the works, and the history of Doylestown,” said Strouse. “They are offering walking tours on Saturday morning for the length of the program.”
The reproductions will be installed until July. In August, a second phase of installations will put paintings on the streets of Bristol, Jenkintown, Conshohocken, Phoenixville, and Upper Darby.