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‘Inside Out’ Makes Art Accessible to Main Line Towns

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Officials welcome the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exhibit Inside Out to Narberth. Behind them sits Paul Klee’s Fish Magic. From Left: Narberth Mayor Tom Grady, Ed Ridgway, Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Katy Friedland, Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Gina Ciralli//Photos by Kelly Lyons.

The streets of Narberth aren’t where one would expect to find famous works of art. Nor is Coatesville or Lansdowne. But thanks to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s latest exhibit, “Inside Out,” unexpected places like these towns are getting a splash of artistic color.

In Narberth, across from the delightful French bakery, Le Petit Mitron, just ahead of the bustling train station, nestled among the budding spring trees in Station Circle are two famous pieces of artwork. Paul Klee’s oil and watercolor surrealist painting “Fish Magic” greets train passengers as they step off the platform, while Wassily Kandinsky’s 100-year-old abstract oil painting “Little Painting with Yellow” faces those strolling State Road’s sidewalks.

The beautiful, colorful paintings are replicas of the originals, which are safely ensconced in the museum and currently on display. The replicas are on display thanks to the museum’s initiative, which works in partnership with John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, bringing some of the institution’s most famous work to 11 Philadelphia-area towns.

Wassily Kandinsky’s “Little Painting with Yellow” faces Narberth residents as they stroll up and down State Road.

“This project is not simply about the museum sharing its masterpieces,” says the museum’s CEO Timothy Rub. “This is a community project, and it is about what we can do together. The museum’s treasures are the community’s treasures, and they are for the enjoyment of everyone.”

Kandinsky and Klee’s works, which were installed in Narberth on April 13, will be on view through July. To celebrate, Narberth Business Association will launch NarbART Month on May 6. Art will be displayed in the windows of the town’s shops and restaurants to match the theme of these pieces.

“It is one thing to see such stirring works of art in a museum, but an entirely new experience to view them outdoors,” says Victoria Rogers, vice president for arts at the Knight Foundation. “By bringing “Inside Out” to communities across Philadelphia, we’re able to share the treasures of the Philadelphia Museum of Art more broadly and engage people directly as they go about their everyday lives, encountering art in unexpected places.”

Other works in Narberth will include Mary Cassatt’s “Mother and Child”, Marsden Hartley’s “Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse)”, Jean-Antoine Houdon’s “Bust of Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)”, Made in India’s “Krishna and Radha”, Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Two Calla Lilies on Pink” and many more.

Learn more by downloading the app or visiting www.philamuseum.org.