Philadelphia Museum of Art Puts Its Famous Artworks on the Streets

Monets, Renoirs and Cezannes can be spotted in unexpected locations throughout the region.

Diego Rivera’s Sugar Cane

Diego Rivera’s Sugar Cane at 12th and Wharton streets in South Philly. | Photo by Josh Middleton

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) has hung 60 replicated masterpieces along Philly city streets, making onlookers across the region do double takes.

PMA and the Knight Foundation teamed up to bring a unique outreach program to Philadelphia called “Inside Out,” which hopes to break down the intimidating barriers of the Museum walls, and bring a more casual and approachable feel to classical art.

Twenty-two local neighborhoods will take part in the project within the next two years. The comprising works will span five different areas for three months at a time and then be relocated to five new areas throughout the city. The first five neighborhoods and towns to host the works this spring are East Passyunk, Newtown, Chestnut Hill East/Mount Airy, Haddonfield and Media. Each community hosts up to twelve classical pieces at a time.


Ruben Peale’s From Nature in the Garden graces a fence across from Pat’s and Geno’s. | Photo by Josh Middleton

Replicas are placed within short distances of one another to give the feel of browsing an outdoor gallery. The art is hung on walls in period-appropriate frames or placed on freestanding posts outside courthouses, schools, restaurants, banks and parks. We even saw one—Ruben Peale’s From Nature in the Garden—hung on a fence across from Pat’s and Geno’s.

Other recognizable pieces that made it to the street are Mary Cassatt’s Mother and Child,  Henry Ossawa Tanner’s The Annunciation, Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire, Diego Rivera’s Sugar Cane, and Philadelphia-based artist Moe Brooker’s Present Futures. A short blurb from PMA curators accompany each work.

If the art sparks further interest, community members may choose to attend tours hosted by the individual neighborhood. Folks in any given participating “Inside Out” location can enjoy free admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art on certain days.

To find out when “Inside Out” is coming to your hood, go here.