Lonely Planet Writer

See how a new wave of American street art is changing city landscapes

In major US cities, famous artworks are leaving the museum behind and appearing on the streets, prompting many to take a late summer road trip.

One of Salvador Dalis iconic sculpture on display in Beverly Hills.
One of Salvador Dali’s iconic sculpture on display in Beverly Hills. Image by Two Rodeo Drive

Two Rodeo Drive, a Beverly Hills outdoor mall, is exhibiting some of surrealist artist Salvador Dali’s best works outside for all to see.  Twelve of the renowned painter’s sculptures are on loan from The Stratton Institute and on display until 23 September. The cultural additions are bringing a unique brand of tourist to the famously pricey street, best known for its window-shopping and people-watching.

The response to the exhibit has been overwhelming – a tremendous uptick in business and quality traffic far beyond what we imagined,” says Bill Wiley, Director of Two Rodeo Drive.  “This very uplifting and world-class exhibit of Dali’s sculptures is something positive for the community and a definite must-see for the thousands of visitors that come to Beverly Hills every day.”

The Detroit Institute of Arts Inside Out programme comes to River Rouge suburb.
The Detroit Institute of Arts Inside Out programme comes to River Rouge suburb. Image by DIA Inside Out

In Detroit, the Detroit Institute of Art is once again showcasing art on the streets with their Inside Out program. For six years, reproductions of famous paintings hang around the city during the summer months for all to enjoy, a curated spin on American street art. More than 80 reproductions will  brighten up nine communities within the city until 31 October this year.

The mural is an example of a more permanent type of American street art.
Hebru Brantley’s “Chi Boy”. Image by Wabash Arts Corridor

Art is also becoming a more permanent part of urban cityscapes in many North American cities. Columbia College students have taken over a portion of Chicago’s South Loop neighbourhood with more than 40 murals throughout the Wabash Arts Corridor. 40,000 square feet of outdoor wall space in the area has been converted into murals and street art, helping to revitalise the neighbourhood and attract art lovers.  

Mural at Wynkoop & 35th.
Mural at Wynkoop & 35th. Image by River North Art District

Meanwhile, the rebirth of Denver’s River North  neighborhood, (nicknamed “RiNo”) includes art galleries, creative spaces, breweries and commissioned murals. Art lovers have never had more incentive to hit the road.