Inside|Out Puts PAMM's Permanent Collection on the Streets of Hialeah, Homestead, and West End

Graffiti operates under the assumption that art is by and for the people. The murals of Wynwood prove that street art can be of such high caliber that it demands worldwide recognition. This point is echoed when public works from famous street artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey find their way into fine-art museums.

It's easy to understand muralists working their way up to traditional venues and exhibition spaces. But what if valuable paintings, sculptures, and photographs found their way to the streets?

“We really do want to make art general,” says Victoria Rogers, the Knight Foundation's vice president of arts. “We want access to art to be available to anyone in our cities, and this [new program] breaks down any barrier," she says of the Inside|Out initiative with Pérez Art Museum Miami. "It's where you live. It's where you work. It's where you're walking at any point in time. We just think it's a really important way to show the whimsy of art as well as the true significance.”
The two organizations gathered Wednesday afternoon with members of the City of Hialeah government to celebrate the kickoff of the initiative and the unveiling of the first ten pieces at Hialeah Park. It's a great complement to other Hialeah initiatives, such as the new Southeast Art District (dubbed the Leah District), hoping to inspire the area's artistic residents.

“Art reflects who we are,” Rogers continues. “It reflects our culture. It reflects what's important to us. It can get people talking about issues that they may not want to talk about, but you can do it by looking at art.”

The new interactive community initiative from PAMM and sponsored by the Knight Foundation is taking reproductions of some of the museum's most stimulating works and dispersing them throughout Miami's culturally underserved streets.

“We are a civil entity, and we're there for everybody,” PAMM director Franklin Sirmans says. “If we can't get everybody to come to the museum, we're going to come out and bring the museum to you."

Inside|Out will bring 30 fantastic art reproductions (including works by Roy Lichtenstein, Faith Ringgold, and Bedia) to targeted areas in Hialeah, Homestead, and the West End. The installations, popping up in high-traffic parks with historical and cultural significance, are to be staggered every few days and displayed until September.

“So much of our work as a museum in the 21st Century goes way beyond just going to the museum to look at something on the wall,” Sirmans says. “It's about relationships — it's about talking, sharing ideas, sharing concepts, being triggered by artworks to have other associations and other conversations — and one way we think we are doing that here is by looking at the museum as a jump-off point for all of those conversations.”

Luis Gonzalez, president of the Hialeah City Counsel, says, “I'm honored that PAMM, Inside|Out, and the Knight Foundation chose Hialeah Racetrack, Hialeah Park and&Casino, and the City of Hialeah to be the commencement of this tour.

“There's a lot of kids who are neglected and have a side of them that should be expressed. For too many years, we had no programs [in place] in our community to be able to give them that opportunity to express themselves, and now they have it.”
Remarks were made and pictures were taken around the central offering: a striking reproduction of Bedia's painting Mama Quiere Menga, Menga de Su Nkombo. Bedia was born in Cuban but has lived in South Miami for decades, making him a perfect centerpiece for Hialeah's Inside|Out collection. The original piece is on display at PAMM.

The next round of reproductions will be unveiled at the Homestead Eco-Fair on Saturday, February 20, followed by Hammock Community Park in West End on Saturday, March 13. Each event will feature interactive art tours and craft opportunities to help inspire artistic flow in adults and children alike.

Each reproduction is accompanied by a short description in English and Spanish, as well as a QR code linked to more information about the artist and his or her work. PAMM and the Knight Foundation hope the placement of such fine works in the outside world will spark curiosity in the hearts of passersby and, ultimately, inspire them to stop by the museum.

There's nothing like seeing a work of art in the flesh, with the chance to study an artist's brushstrokes and inquire to a nearby expert ready and willing to field questions and aid conversation, and to that end, PAMM invites citizens of each Inside|Out participating ZIP code to cap the initiative with a free visit to the museum all Labor Day weekend.

“I think that people often have preconceived ideas about art, and we're here to say, 'Art is for everyone,'” says the Knight Foundation's Rogers. “Talent is equally distributed. Maybe somebody just needs to think, I can do that. I want to find my voice through art. How significant is that if you can be a part of it?”
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Kat Bein is a freelance writer and has been described as this publication’s "senior millennial correspondent." She has an impressive, if unhealthy, knowledge of all things pop culture.