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Van Gogh coming to park

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July 14, 2010 - Vincent van Gogh is coming to downtown Oxford.

Well, not the artist himself. He's been dead for 120 years.

A waterproof, full-size digital reproduction of an oil painting Van Gogh created during the last month of his life will be displayed in Centennial Park, courtesy of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA).

"We've always been interested in community work and this is kind of a nice way to bring art to the community," said Michelle Hauske, location manager for the DIA's 125th Anniversary Project.

The painting is called "Bank of the Oise at Auvers" and Van Gogh created it in July 1890, the same month the Dutch post-Impressionist shot himself in the chest with a revolver and died two days later.

Oxford was "selected" to be among 40 communities in Oakland, Wayne, Macomb and Washtenaw counties that will each display reproductions of famous artworks from the DIA's permanent collection.

"A lot of these are being placed in areas that have farmers' markets or musical events," Hauske said.

Downtown Oxford has both.

"We like the cultural district downtown," Hauske explained. "We like the main street. We thought it would be a nice painting for that area."

Adorned with a gilded frame, Oxford's painting will be displayed via a free-standing unit placed in Centennial Park by early August. It will remain there for public viewing through the end of November.

The paintings are being displayed as part of the DIA's 125th Anniversary celebration. "The DIA wanted to do something that moves beyond its walls," Hauske said. "This project enables us to reach people who may not come to the museum as often or maybe haven't been there in a couple years. It's also to raise awareness of the importance of public art, art education, cultural events."

Besides promoting the DIA, Hauske indicated the project is also designed to motivate people to visit the communities hosting the paintings.

"We're hoping people will be encouraged to travel to Oxford," she said.

Communities and businesses involved in the 125th Anniversary Project will be featured on an interactive map on the museum website ( as well as be connected through the museum's social networks, which include its 25,000-member strong Facebook, Myspace, Flickr and Twitter accounts.

"Everybody will know where these (paintings) are located," Hauske said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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