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The Walters Turns Baltimore into an Open-Air Museum

Baltimore—The Walters Art Museum has partnered with 23 local organizations to present Off the Wall, an open-air exhibition that brings reproduced classic paintings to Baltimore’s main streets and outdoor spaces. The museum is replicating a variety of paintings on weather-resistant vinyl, placing them in period-correct frames, mounting them to commercial walls and “planting” them in parks. These high-quality reproductions will be displayed from November through April 2013, during phase one of the project. For phase two, the Walters will install the same 23 works in new locations from July through December 2013.

“The Walters’ mission is to bring art and people together. Off the Wall demonstrates that we can have fun fulfilling that promise to the community,” said Walters Director Gary Vikan. “Walking past a beautiful painting while ‘out and about’ in the area will be a pleasant surprise for everyone.”

Each reproduction will have a label that describes the artwork. A Quick Response or QR code next to each work can be scanned with a Smartphone, leading to a more detailed description on the Walters’ works of art site.

Many of the works have light-hearted thematic ties to their locations. Examples include:

  • The tagline for the Darker Than Blue Café is “Where Blues and Jazz Meet Great Food” and on their narrow brick facade will sit Figaro’s Shop, a scene set in Rome, in which a young gypsy strums a guitar while men in frock coats play checkers;
  • The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet, from the 17th century, depicting a Flemish collector’s room of rare and artistic objects, will sit on the side wall of Hampden’s Avenue Antiques;
  • In the picnic area of Mount Washington’s Whole Foods will stand Allegory of the Element Earth, a Renaissance painting of nature’s fruits, grains and vegetables, all which combine to symbolize Earth, the first of four elements believed to define the world;
  • The 19th century painting, Bunch of Grapes,will be centered on the canary yellow wall of Aldo’s Italian Restaurant in Little Italy; and
  •  Syria, The Night Watch, a moonlit scene of ferocious lions among ancient ruins painted in 1880, will be attached right to the lion cage display at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

The street art project had an early rollout in September when Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake unveiled The Tulip Folly at City Hall. The event included gifting tulip bulbs to attendees.

Off the Wall is complemented by a number of public outreach efforts. We are providing our community partners with printed treasure maps, featuring all 20 artworks and their corresponding locations and hope to explore fun tie-ins such as bicycle tours, geocaching and ‘check-ins’ on social media platforms,” said Walters Director of Marketing Matt Fry. “We encourage people to patronize the businesses hosting the reproductions, to enjoy those displays, and to visit the originals at the Walters the next time they’re in the Mt. Vernon neighborhood.”

General admission to the Walters’ permanent collection is always free. Go to for a map of locations, a list of community partners and information about related events. Off the Wall is generously sponsored in part by CFG Community Bank.

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum is located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre streets. Its permanent collection includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art, and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. Wyndham Baltimore Peabody Court is the official hotel of the Walters Art Museum.

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