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WEST CHESTER — Residents can play a new type of treasure hunt as they scour West Chester Borough for 13 different works of art scattered about.
In conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the borough’s Park & Recreation Department, Inside/Out brings replicas from the museum have sprung up for anyone to view over the next three months.
“It’s a two-year grant-funded project that brings replicas of the museum’s collection to communities for brief exhibitions,” said Gina Ciralli, Inside/Out’s project coordinator. “We’re in West Chester, along with Ambler, Norristown, Fishtown and Wayne.”
The art may cause people to take a second look, not realizing at first what they passed.
The pieces can be standing up in the ground or hung on a wall.
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“You’ll be walking around town and you’ll find pop-up art works along main streets, the library, at the park — everywhere people tend to congregate,” Ciralli said.
The artworks began popping up Thursday around the Wells Fargo Bank on Gay Street.
The plan is to have all 13 pieces up by Thursday, but if not, it will be finished by Friday.
All the pieces are located within the borough itself.
“(West Chester) will have these from the start of the school year until Thanksgiving,” Ciralli said.
Even before the first piece of work touched the ground in West Chester, several places offered to host the works.
“We could probably have 50 locations — everyone wanted to be a part of it,” said Keith Kurowski, director of the borough’s Parks & Recreation. “We have six locations on private property and six locations on public. We had to narrow it down.”
In the months leading up to the placements, the community leaders from the Parks & Recreation Department walked representatives from the museum around to view some of the ideal spots.
The only qualifications needed for a spot was that it was a place people congregated and that there had to be ground for the pieces to go into or a wall to attach them to.
The Parks & Recreation team had the tough decisions to choose the placements, while the museum chose what to match there.
“We were very selection in our selections, if you will,” Ciralli said. “We wanted make sure each community had a little taste of the museum — from the American department as well as Southeast Asian department and everything from contemporary to classic European. We had a very broad collection and chose things that would look good at certain sites.”
This is the first year the museum has tried Inside/Out, though West Chester will be it’s second go-round after during a summer cycle.
It originally started after seeing the Detroit Institute of Art do it for the last six years.
“It’s also happening in Akron, Ohio, and in Miami this year,” Ciralli said. “It is really perforating all corners of the U.S.”
When the Philadelphia Museum of Art decides on a piece of art to use, and H&G Sign Company and Krain Outdoor Advertisements take a high-resolution photograph of the artwork and then screen print that onto a board.
The frames are custom built from outdoor molding and are varnished to make weatherproof.
The idea of Inside/Out is for people to find a surprise at every turn and in unexpected places.
“People sometimes forget about art and this is a great way to remind them and it can be part of their daily lives,” Ciralli said.
Though the pieces will be all up by the weekend, the borough is planning to host a kickoff party Sept. 3 during the Swingin’ Summer Thursday.
By next week, maps of the locations will be made available and for Sept. 3, there will also be an app for phones as well.
“It’s a really good partnership to have,” Kurowski said. “Folks come take a look at this and then want to go check out the museum. It takes away that stigma that art has to be viewed in a very quiet place. You have cars and trucks going by and people having a good time. That’s cool all around.”
Though the displays will only be up until Thanksgiving, there is already thoughts as to working out more programs with the museum and also the Brandywine River Museum.
Inside/Out is just another way, in the view of Kurowski and the Parks & Recreation Department, to make West Chester more beautiful and desirable destination.
“It’s a very artsy town to begin with and now you have it as you’re waking down the street,” he said. “You have music coming out of the venues, you have the visual aspects with the art — it’s phenomenal.”