Photo by: Zach Odom/Dispatch Staff
August 26, 2014 9:33:15 AM
If, while driving around Lowndes County, you've noticed a different sort of billboard advertising, thank an artist. Better yet, visit an art show, museum or art gallery.
Lamar Outdoor Advertising began displaying the unusual billboards two weeks ago as part of a national campaign called Art Everywhere US. The campaign, which began in Great Britain, features reproductions of famous American artists. The original works are on display at some of the nation's great galleries and museums. The idea is to expose Americans who might not have access to or be inclined to visit such places to some of the country's great paintings.
It is the work of the Outdoor Advertising Association of American, supported by The Ad Council. Displays such as the ones that have popped up around Columbus have been going up all across the country this summer, with billboard companies donating unused billboard space to the project.
Locally, Lamar Advertising has put up seven Art Everywhere US billboards in Lowndes County, three in Monroe County and one in West Point.
The project began in January when five of the nation's leading museums came together to celebrate the history of American art through 100 great works -- 20 from each of the museums.
At the beginning of August, 50 works where chosen to be reproduced on billboards, transit hubs and other public spaces.
The pieces were collected to represent the history of the U.S. from before the Revolutionary War until modern times through the artwork that reflected the times in which the artist painted.
It is a nice departure from the usual billboard fare of car dealerships and restaurants. It also reminds us that our area is already embracing the idea of art in public spaces. Just in the last couple of years, we've seen murals in downtown Columbus at the Hitching Lot Farmers' Market, on Fifth Street and Catfish Alley, the latter of which depicts the long arch of the history of Catfish Alley. A mural went up in West Point recently as well.
While our area may not feature world-renowned galleries, we are blessed to have a thriving art community of our own.
So as you drive around and notice the billboards, let it serve as a reminder of the rich and varied art we have in our own back yard. Support the arts, we say, especially our local artists.