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In Charlotte, the Bechtler museum and Gantt Center are turning art viewing inside-out

Under a unique collaboration, high-quality art reproductions are being installed in parks and along city streets and greenways.

The city's first art exhibition for Inside|Out Charlotte was installed Uptown at The Green across from the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.

Viewing a painting by artists like Jean Tinguely or Andy Warhol once meant going to a museum or gallery. Now, thanks to a collaboration between the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Harvey B. Gantt Center, Charlotte-area residents can view the works of those artists and more along city streets, parks and greenways.

Inside|Out, a national program funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, is a community-activated art project that places high-quality reproductions of artworks in neighborhoods across selected cities. The initiative is part of the Knight Foundation’s national effort to share collections and bring art into communities with the goal of strengthening knowledge, understanding and appreciation for visual art.

“There’s something very powerful about seeing works of art in person,” said Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at Knight Foundation. “You become completely immersed. Inside|Out brings that experience to people, directly in their communities.”

The Inside|Out program started eight years ago at the Detroit Institute of Arts and now includes the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Akron Art Museum, and Perez Art Museum Miami.

Featuring works currently on display at the Bechtler and Gantt Center, Inside|Out Charlotte will be the first with two art institutions collaborating in one city. Program staff said selected works, which include a range of large-scale reproductions of images by masters like Pablo Picasso and emerging artists like photographer Zun Lee, reflect the diversity of the museums’ collections and broad interests in the community.

The Knight Foundation also has provided funding to support related programming in participating communities. Locally, the Bechtler museum and the Gantt Center are working with community partners to offer events and activities such as trolley tours, outdoor workshops for adults and youth, artist talks, musical performances and more. In addition, participating communities are being encouraged to create their own opportunities to motivate the public to get outdoors and engaged in talking about art.

The first event is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, when Sustain Charlotte hosts a family-friendly cycling tour of new art installations in West Charlotte. The tour, guided by museum docents, will begin at 10 a.m. at Seversville Park and focus on the significance of the equity-inspired art pieces on display.

A national Instagram photo contest is scheduled for June 9-12. Visit insideoutusa.org for more information.

Inside|Out Charlotte will host two exhibition seasons in 2017 with two more planned for 2018.

The spring exhibition will run through July 8 with projects in the following areas: Biddlesville-Smallwood, Plaza Midwood, Washington Heights, Dilworth, West Boulevard and Beatties Ford Road. The fall exhibition will run September 3 – December 3.

In all, up to 60 reproduced artworks will be on display around Charlotte this spring; an additional 80 will be installed this fall.

Inside|Out Charlotte has asked community representatives, businesses and arts organizations interested in participating to apply online. Visit insideoutclt.org or email info@insideoutclt.org for more information.

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