LexArts Release


LexArts: Artist Selected for Bridge Public Art Project

Artwork Will Create Visual Landmark for Major City Corridor 

Lexington, KY – Artist Christopher Weed has been chosen and commissioned to create public art that will soon adorn the Oliver Lewis Way Bridge, located just south of the intersection of Main Street and Newtown Pike, and bordering the Lexington Distillery District. Weed’s proposal, Origins, is a series of six illuminated, abstract sculptures,symbolically representing the charring of oak barrels, used in the aging of bourbon.

These sculptures will stand the test of time and serve as a distinguished reminder of Lexington’s storied past, present and bright future.

In September of last year, LexArts Inc., in association with 2nd District Council Member Shevawn Akers and the LFUCG Corridors Commission, issued a call to artists for the project, resulting in over 100 submissions from across the United States, Canada and Europe. An initial round narrowed the field to three finalists. After a visit to Lexington, each created site-specific proposals and presented them to the public and to a selection committee comprised of artists, arts professionals and community leaders. After significant public input and a thorough review by the committee, Weed was unanimously chosen for the project.

Said juror Andrea Fisher of Transylvania University, speaking on behalf of the committee, “All three artists were extremely well qualified, had thought carefully about their submissions, and offered aesthetically pleasing designs. However, it was the work of Coloradoan Christopher Weed that captured the history and aspirations of Lexington most profoundly. His abstracted interpretation of burning bourbon barrels is a perfect gateway into the Distillery District and the classical element of flame is an appropriate counterpoint to the waters of Town Branch running below the Oliver Lewis Way Bridge. Furthermore, the light sculptures resemble glowing torches, emblematic of hope, energy, and passion, wonderful descriptors of Lexington’s current zeitgeist.”

“Christopher Weed’s Origins will transform the Newtown corridor and become an iconic landmark for our downtown and the Distillery District,” continued Council Member Akers. “This project is the culmination of intentional design, a grand idea and a terrific collaboration between LFUCG, LexArts and the citizens of Lexington. I am so proud to be part of it. ”

“LexArts is honored to have a role in the creation of this defining work of public art for Lexington and her visitors,” explained Nan Plummer, LexArts President & CEO. “Working with the artists, the selection committee and Council Member Akers has been both a pleasure and a privilege. The unveiling of Chris Weed’s executed design this fall will be an exciting moment for everyone in the community.”

Weed will begin work immediately and will complete the project in time for dedication and unveiling during Breeder’s Cup Festival Week, a week long series of events to be held October 24-31 that will celebrate the first time the Breeder’s Cup World Championships will be held at Lexington’s historic Keeneland Race Course.

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LexArts Announces 2016 Grants Opportunities

The LexArts Board of Directors announced this morning that applications are now being accepted for General Operating Support (GOS) and Community Arts Development (CAD) Project and Program grants. Grants will be awarded to individual artists and arts and community organizations for specific programs with an arts or cultural focus that have clear artistic and social benefits and are accessible to the general public.

General Operating Support grants are made in amounts of $10,000 and above and provide unrestricted funds for general operating expenses including staff, overhead, and program costs. Funded arts organizations must demonstrate strong arts mission fulfillment, fiscal responsibility, sound management, and operate on a year-round basis.

Community Arts Development Grants are awarded on a competitive basis for project or program support.  Projects may include festivals, exhibitions, readings, performances, planning grants and artist publications. Programs may include festivals, a series of visual art exhibitions, and performing arts series, including music, theatre, dance and spoken word.

Project Grants vary in amounts from $500-$2,500, while Program Grants range from $2,500-$10,000. Last year $63,000 was awarded in total to 14 organizations.

“LexArts’ support of the arts in Central Kentucky is actually the support of hundreds and hundreds of people and companies, funneled through a rigorous and objective grant application process,” explains LexArts President and CEO, Dr. Ellen A. Plummer. “Experts in many arts disciplines, along with a committee from LexArts’ volunteer board, evaluate an organization’s artistic quality, fiscal readiness, and level of service. For thirty years now, this process assures all those investors in the arts that their investments are well-placed. As a result, Central Kentucky has a  rich variety of high quality arts offerings of which we can all be proud.”

Continued LexArts Grants Committee Chair David Smith, of Stoll Keenon Ogden, “Our Grants Committee has kept firm both the general operating and community arts development grants funding throughout and after the recession, at some internal financial distress to LexArts, and we look forward once again to providing as much support in 2015 to our cultural partners as our resources permit.”

Fiscal Year 2016 programming begins July 1, 2015 and continues through June 30, 2016. The application deadline for 2016 funding is March 13, 2015. Organizations who intend to apply for GOS funding, but have not previously received GOS funding, must submit an Intent to Apply form by February 13, 2015.  Provided grant funds are available, LexArts may also elect to accept Project Grant applications for review on a quarterly basis.

A Grants Workshop will be conducted at ArtsPlace, 161 North Mill Street, at 4pm on Monday, February 23. Prospective applicants should become familiar with the guidelines prior to the workshop. LexArts staff is also available to provide technical assistance and review draft proposals via one-on-one consultation. If a draft proposal is to be reviewed, it should be sent to the Community Arts Manager Nathan Zamarron prior to the consultation. Please call 859.255.2951 or send an email RSVP for the workshop or to schedule a consultation to nzamarron@lexarts.org.

Important Dates and Deadlines
GOS Intent to Apply Deadline Friday, February 13, 5pm
Grant Workshop Monday, February 23, 4pm
Grant Application Deadline Friday, March 13, 5pm
CAD Grant Review  Tuesday, April 21, 10am-Noon
 GOS Grant Review  Tuesday, April 28, 10am-Noon

More information, including eligibility and criteria guidelines, can be found athttp://lexarts.org/participate/Grants/, and the 2016 Grants Brochure is available here.Artists and not for profit arts groups interested in finding out more information may also contact Nathan Zamarron, LexArts Community Arts Manager, at 859.255.2951 or nzamarron@lexarts.org.

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Finalists Announced for Oliver Lewis Way Bridge Public Art Project

Lexington, KY – LexArts Inc., in association with 2nd District Council Member Shevawn Akers and the LFUCG Corridors Commission, earlier this year issued a call to artists for the creation of public art that enhances the Oliver Lewis Way Bridge, located just south of the intersection of Main Street and Newtown Pike. The call resulted in over 100 submissions from across the United States, Canada and Europe.

After thorough review by a selection committee comprised of artists, arts professionals and community leaders, and including public input, three finalists have been identified and commissioned to create site-specific proposals. The finalists are: Blessing Hancock, Tuscon, AZ; Guy Kemper, Lexington, KY; and Christopher Weed, Colorado Springs, CO.

The proposals will be on display for public discussion at ArtsPlace beginning January 16, the inaugural Gallery Hop of 2015, and will remain on exhibit through the end of January. A review of the final designs, along with the public’s input, will be conducted by the selection committee and one artist or artist team will be selected to realize their proposal.

The budget for the project is $100,000, making this one of the largest public art projects the city of Lexington has ever commissioned. While the timeline for completion will not be known until the selection of the winning design, the hope remains that Lexington’s newest public art project will be unveiled and dedicated by October 30, 2015 when Keeneland and the city of Lexington will host the Breeder’s Cup World Championships, one of Throughbred racing’s most prestigious international events.

The Oliver Lewis Way bridge carries State Highway 922 across Town Branch Creek and over active railroad tracks that belong to RJ Corman, Lexington’s local short line railroad company. The location of the bridge is at the edge of the historic bourbon distillery district and would be a permanent feature within the proposed 46 acre Rupp Arena, Arts and Entertainment district. Open for traffic since 2010, the bridge was constructed with future public art in mind — the pillars were constructed to support the additional weight of sculptural or other physical pieces and were outfitted with additional electric capacity.

“The Oliver Lewis Way Bridge will transform the western gateway into Lexington into an artful and welcoming space,” said LexArts President and CEO Nan Plummer. ” It is very exciting and important that the public will take part in the selection process. We hope that many, many people share their opinions on the site-specific proposals, which will be on display at ArtsPlace for the January 16th Gallery Hop and the following two weeks.”

“Newtown Pike is a primary gateway to Lexington and our downtown,” continued 2nd District Council Member Shevawn Akers. “Each finalist brings unique talents, bodies of work and perspectives that will inspire both residents and visitors. I can’t wait to see what these three artists envision for beautifying this important corridor.”

Because of an adjacent property ownership, local architecture firm POHL ROSA POHL became engaged as a stakeholder in the bridge project. A long-prominent voice for design excellence, POHL ROSA POHL was invited to participate in the design process and contributed significant volunteer time and energy to the project, becoming the primary advocates for the bridge as public art.

Clive Pohl, Principal with Pohl Rosa Pohl, observed, “The Oliver Lewis Way Bridge was conceived as something special. However, getting it beyond the mundane, to be an expressive sponsor of public art, took countless hours by paid professionals and visionary volunteers. I am very excited by the prospect that, at last, prominent sculpture will complete the composition to create the artful gateway that Lexington so deserves. Another crowning achievement for our great community and LexArts.”

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