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Americans Look for Art Everywhere


Jasper Johns' painting 1958 'Three Flags' was among the works chosen for the 'Art Everywhere.'

Jasper Johns' painting 1958 'Three Flags' was among the works chosen for the 'Art Everywhere.'

Welcome to American Mosaic from VOA Learning English.

I’m June Simms.

Have you ever see the painting called “Allies Day, 1917” by the American artist Childe Hassam? You can find it in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. But you could also find a copy of it at a city bus stop last month.

“Allies Day, 1917,” was part of a huge campaign across America in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on big signs, bus shelters, subway stations and more. The campaign was called “Art Everywhere.” Five major museums led the project. The organizers say they wanted to permit more people to enjoy art and learn about U.S. culture and history.

The campaign reproduced 58 American paintings, photographs and other works of art. The work covered a period of 230 years in American history. The organizers presented the reproductions in about 50,000 places.

Charles Brock is with the National Gallery of Art, one of the museums involved in the campaign.

“It’s really educating people about the foundation of the American visual culture.”

Mr. Brock says the campaign was also designed to persuade people to visit museums.

“Museums, of course, are dedicated to preserving culture for future generations, and so we have to make sure the future generations are interested.”

Museum visitor Elizabeth Vanbeek praised the “Art Everywhere” campaign.

“It’s nice to have art everywhere and make it accessible to kids.”

The idea for the campaign came from a similar project in Britain, called “Art Everywhere in the UK.” Richard Reed was the founder.

“America to me is a country that does things bigger and better, more posts, more prominent places, wonderful art all across the country.”

The five museums that organized “Art Everywhere,” nominated one hundred possible works. Then, in April, they invited Americans to vote on which they would most like to see represented. The artwork that got the most votes overall was the 1942 Edward Hopper painting “Nighthawks.” The work hangs in the Illinois museum, Art Institute of Chicago.

Stephan Freitas is with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. It helped pay the costs of “Art Everywhere.”

“People are going to the website. They are using the map and they’re looking for and finding the pieces of art. We’ve encouraged people through Instagram to upload selfies for themselves with the artwork and at the end we’re going to randomly select the winners.”

Kurt Gunther is a visitor to D.C. from Arizona.

“I’m from Phoenix, where art is not really as celebrated, and putting this, I guess in public places allows people to see art when they’re not going to museums.

Tanaka Rubens is visiting the U.S. from Japan.

“It’s amazing to be here in New York and see all this work of art for free.”

Michael Vidikan of Washington, D.C. agrees.

“Well, it would be great if they did it year round.”

Art Everywhere gives museums the chance to share treasures more widely. And the public gets a chance to experience those treasures in unexpected ways.

I’m June Simms.

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Words in the News

museum – n. a building in which interesting and valuable things (such as paintings and sculptures or scientific or historical objects) are collected and shown to the public

reproduction – n. copy; something that is made to look exactly like an original

celebrate – v. to honor a person or event with special activities

treasure – n. a large collection of money, jewels or other things of great value

Now it’s your turn to use these Words in the News. In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar.

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