It’s not every day people can see a famous painting while walking through the park.
Classic art reproductions are on display around downtown Ludington for anyone to stop and view in the open air this summer.
The Ludington Center for the Arts (LACA) worked with the Detroit Institute of Arts to bring the Inside Out exhibit to town.
“I thought it was great to bring this artwork to our community. Not everyone has the chance, especially now with COVID people staying close to home, to see this artwork. That’s what the arts center is all about — making art accessible to everyone,” said LACA Executive Director Andrew Skinner.
He said it’s a great social distancing activity and the paintings are within walking or biking distance.
“People are loving it,” Skinner said. “I posted (on Facebook) when we originally installed them with close up pictures to have people try to find them. A bunch of people replied they were out looking for them and found a few.”
The installation was initially planned for mid-May, but it was delayed until July 18 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Skinner plans to apply to participate next year because the exhibit was shortened.
“It came down to the company that creates the reproduction in Detroit that was closed. COVID messed it up,” said Skinner.
There are eight paintings total, with one in two locations. “Seascape Sunset” by Martin Johnson Heade is at the Waterfront Park peninsula and on the SS Badger traveling to and from Wisconsin each day.
“When we applied for the program, I gave the (institute) general information about Ludington. I didn’t have to include specific locations yet. At that time, the Badger wasn’t on my radar for locations I wanted. One day I was thinking about it, and they were talking about different things other communities had done with the Inside Out program, and I thought, ‘Wow, that would be cool to have one on the Badger traveling back and forth,’” Skinner said. “As far as I know, it’s the only piece of the Inside Out project... that actually moves and changes locations.”
Some of the paintings are wall-mounted and some are free standing.
“The (DIA) selected the art based on the locations and which pieces of artwork would fit nicely. I think they did a wonderful job with the pieces they selected,” Skinner said.
The classic paintings are stationed in various alfresco locations in the downtown area:
• “Nocturne In Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket” by James Abbott McNeill Whistler is at Rotary Park.
• “Bank of the Oise at Auvers” by Vincent Van Gogh is on the Loomis Street side of the Ludington Municipal Marina.
• “Savoy Ballroom” by Reginald Marsh is mounted on the east side of the Waterfront Park bandshell.
• “Mother and Child” by Solomon Irein Wangboje and “Summer” by Thomas Wilmer Dewing are on the LACA lawn.
• “Mexican Pueblo” by Jose Clemente Orozco is outside the Ludington branch of the Mason County District Library.
• “Seascape Sunset” by Martin Johnson Heade is on the Waterfront Park peninsula and the SS Badger.
A map of the artwork locations is available on the LACA website, www.ludingtonartscenter.org.
Skinner is developing a mounted, framed map that will be attached to each piece.
“Some past (communities) in the Inside Out program created a pamphlet that was placed in an attached brochure holder, but with COVID and touching, I’m working on getting permanent maps people can reference,” he said.
Skinner also wants to add an interactive element to the exhibit.
“We might do a guided tour of all the pieces with a tour guide taking people site to site and giving information about each artwork,” he said. “We might have a specific person posted at each one and allow people come at a certain time on their own or do an art project class at one of the locations in the same style of that particular artist, so there would be an art lesson about that artist. We might do one or two of those.”
The outside installations are giving LACA ideas for other exhibits, Skinner said.
“We are trying to think of different ways we can do things here at LACA — think outside the box to fit with COVID. One of the ideas is an outdoor exhibit, so this is giving me a way to see how it could work,” he said.
Four other towns in Michigan — Mackinac Island, Bellaire, Douglas and Hancock — are also participating in the program’s 11th season.
LACA asks people to take photos with the artwork and post them on the Facebook page, Ludington Area Center for the Arts, with the hashtag #LACAInsideOut.
The Ludington exhibit is slated to end in November.