Contributed by Fronda Cohen
Director, Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences
It was about 5:30 in the evening, near the entrance to Meadowood Regional Park at the gateway to Greenspring Valley. The park on Falls Road is especially beautiful this time of day, when the light is low over the trees and you hear the stream that runs into Jones Falls. Students and parents rounded the running track, headed to the parking lot after a game.
And there I was with my little camera. Taking a picture of a picture in a place that looks like the picture. One of the parents stopped and asked why there was a large painting in an ornate gold frame sitting in the middle of the field.
It’s off the wall, I said.
The man took a step or two away from me. OK, but what is it and why is it here?
It’s from the Walters Art Museum. They’ve taken paintings from their collection and made high quality reproductions on waterproof canvas, then placed them in unexpected places around the community. They call it “Off the Wall,” and it’s a way to bring art closer to people and people closer to art. Isn’t it amazing the way the painting looks so much like the park? It makes you stop for a minute and see the park and the art in a whole new way.
You know, you’re right. Pretty cool.
You can view The Catskills by 19th century artist Asher Brown Durand at Meadowood Regional Park. The Terrace at Saint-Germain, Spring by impressionist painter Alfred Sisley is at Robert E. Lee Park. Next spring, the Walters will be bringing more Off the Wall paintings to other Baltimore County locations.