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'Art Everywhere U.S.' Brings Iconic Art To Wichita's Billboards

Wichita is currently part of a nation-wide project called Art Everywhere U.S., which calls itself "The biggest outdoor art show ever conceived." Art Everywhere displays images of artwork in outdoor advertising spaces.

In August, billboards, bus shelters, and subways across the country are presenting American art from the Whitney Museum, the National Gallery, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. These five institutions compiled a list of 100 artworks from their collection and let the public vote for their favorites.

The top 50--plus 8 more chosen by the institutions-- make up the final selection. Many are already iconic, like Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, which received the most votes. ArtEverywhere locations are all over town, and in other towns in Kansas, too.

The museums want this campaign to draw people to their galleries. Their partner, Outdoor Advertizing Association of America, hopes to revitalize its revenues. And we receive a brief respite from some advertisements in our daily commutes.

I think it is fine to enjoy this insertion of art into our advertising landscape as long as one thing is clear: we are not looking at the actual artwork. We are looking at digital images of the artwork, which makes this project not "the biggest art show ever conceived," but the biggest art advertising campaign ever conceived. So let's enjoy this for what it is, though nothing replaces being in front of the real artwork, in real-life.