Americans Look for Art Everywhere

07 September, 2014

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.

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

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.