Posts Tagged With: Public Art

Message in a bottle, on a boat, in a park

This past weekend, Josephine Sculpture Park (JSP) celebrated its 5th birthday during its 2014 Fall Arts Festival. They couldn’t have asked for a better day. It was hot but breezy, and the goldenrod was at peak bloom. The atmosphere was just like a 5-year-old’s birthday party with bubbles, balloons, face painting and edible delights. Guests were also treated to hands-on art experiences, including metal relief sculpture, glass blowing, tie dye, pot throwing, paint rockets and other fiery, messy fun.


Bubbles. How does soap and water get so messy?

I took my 3-year-old son, a friend and her baby to experience the momentary enjoyment, but also to take part in something lasting. We went to see and participate in Magellan, a collaboration among JSP, Governor’s Arts Award recipient Latitude Artist Community, the Expressive and Wellness Program at Employment Solutions and StudioWorks at Zoom Group.

On JSP’s eastern ridge, Latitude artists handed each new voyager a bottle and asked them to put something in it that was meaningful to them and decorate the interior. When the bottles were complete, they were capped and displayed together.

What happens later is the transcendent part. The bottles will be placed into tubes and sealed with Plexiglas. The tubes will then be placed in a boat-shaped hole dug into the ground, which will be filled with concrete. Once the cured concrete boat is pulled out of the ground, it will remain on display at the park with the bottles visable in the tubes. According to Latitude, “The focus of this project is on relaying what is the core of our essence, what are the most profound aspects of ourselves that we would like to share with the Planet.” In essence, we are all human-shaped vessels, carrying around our own message, and we are all afloat in a greater vessel together.


A concept drawing of Magellan.

When we left, the eastern ridge was lined with bottles full of things — things with personal meaning. All held messages sent to no one in particular — just anyone who will find them, see them or hear them. Not every message in a bottle begs for rescue. Most are just something that needs to be said to someone, and that “someone” can be anyone willing to look in the bottle and listen.


Like Latitiude or JSP on Facebook to follow the concrete boat of bottles as it completes the creation journey.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Arts Organizations | Tags: , , , , ,

Making the Most of Murals in Lexington

In the second installment of our summer public arts scavenger hunt, we feature the city of Lexington and one of its newest murals, a colorful depiction of Abraham Lincoln created as part of last year’s PRHBTN street art festival. The mural, located on the back of the historic Kentucky Theater building on Water Street, is 60 feet tall and was painted by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.

PRHBTN is a celebration of art forms that have been criminalized, marginalized, and underappreciated in the mainstream. The festival was started in Lexington by John and Jessica Winters and will celebrate its fourth incarnation this October.

Lexington's Abraham Lincoln mural was completed in November 2013 by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.

Lexington’s Abraham Lincoln mural was completed in November 2013 by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra and his team.te its fourth incarnation this October.

In addition to Kobra, three other well-known artists visited Lexington during PRHBTN who left a lasting mark on the city’s walls and buildings.

On the corner of West 6th Street and Bellaire Avenue, art seekers can find a large mural of horses created by street artist Gaia. Known for his use of animals in various forms, Gaia is a Brooklyn native but creates art in public spaces around the world.

Portuguese artist Odeith, another internationally recognized artist who created work during the PRHBTN festival, also left his mark using horses. In a scene that’s familiar to Kentuckians, Odeith depicts racing horses and their colorfully-dressed jockeys. The mural, dedicated to “the amazing people of Lexington,” is located on the back of the Lexington Rescue Mission building that faces Loudon Avenue. The art itself faces the railroad tracks and is visible from North Limestone.

Across town, on Manchester Street, residents can find the third mural painted during the festival on the back of the Barrel House Distillery building. British street artist Phlegm painted a towering pyramid of figures holding up a dinner for two at the top. Nearby, one can also spot the work he did on the old water tower on the property.

In addition to the murals created during PRHBTN last year, numerous other creations have popped over the last several years in Lexington.

On the corner of East Sixth Street and North Limestone, on the old Spalding Bakery building is The Little Giants and the Goddess of Dreams, a mural by German street art duo Herakut. The same team painted “Lilly and the Silly Monkeys” at 156 Market St., as part of their Giant Storybook Project.

Want more?

Lexington is a city filled with murals and these are just a few. Get a list and continue your hunt for great murals and other public artworks by checking out Lexarts’ public art page!

Alex Newby, Communications Assistant

Categories: Arts Education, Other, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , ,

Tiny Doors and a Mother Goose House: A Day Trip to Eastern Kentucky

If you were playing along with our summer scavenger hunt Tuesday on Facebook, you saw the Mother Goose house featured in our first clue! Located in Hazard, the Mother Goose House has been a local landmark since its completion in 1940. The oddly shaped structure has been used as a dairy bar, gas station, private home and even an inn.

While places like the Mother Goose House and the House Made of Coal below have been around for generations, new arts activities and attractions are always developing throughout the eastern region of Kentucky. In Hazard, the Pathfinders of Perry County recently received a grant from ArtPlace America,a national collaboration among 14 foundations dedicated to strengthening the field of creative placemaking, to develop temporary installations, performance spaces and more in the city’s downtown district.

With such a unique heritage in public art, eastern Kentucky is the perfect place for a summer day trip. Below, we’ve suggested a few places to start.

The Mysterious Tiny Doors – In March, residents of Hazard were delighted when mysterious tiny doors started appearing overnight on buildings around downtown. The first, a tiny white door with windows and columns, appeared on the side of the Hollon and Collins law office building and is an exact replica of the office’s front door. In the months since, doors resembling a hobbit hole, a small radio station and even a small courthouse entrance have popped up. While the original artist is a mystery to the public, the community of Hazard has embraced the idea and local artists have joined in on the fun. To date, there are more than 16 tiny doors to be found with the number growing!

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 The House Made of Coal – The House Made of Coal was built in 1926 using 42 tons of bituminous coal. Despite being damaged in a 1988 storm, it stands today and is home to the Bell County Chamber of Commerce in Murfreesboro. Next door, visitors can learn more about the area’s mining heritage through the outdoor Bell County Coal Mining Museum that features mining equipment from the 1960s.

 Jenny Wiley’s Grave – The heroine who escaped Native American captors in pioneer days used the River Creek, now named Jenny’s Creek, in Johnson County to find her way back home. Her final resting place is located in River, Ky., and sits behind the River volunteer fire department.

World’s Second Largest Seated Lincoln – In addition to the other unique arts offerings that eastern Kentucky boasts, the region is home to the world’s second largest seated Abraham Lincoln statue. The statue, commissioned by a local lawyer, is located in Stanville and is slightly smaller than the seated Lincoln statue in the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.


Other roadside attractions in Eastern Ky:

Tiny working post office, Sawyer:

Red Bird Petroglyphs, Manchester:


Alex Newby, Communications Assistant 

Categories: Other | Tags: , ,

A Summer Scavenger Hunt

Ready for summer arts fun? This July, we’ll be hosting a public art scavenger hunt through the Kentucky Arts Council’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Each Tuesday, we’ll post a clue or question pertaining to public art found in different regions of Kentucky. The first person to reply to our post with a picture of the piece, or the place where it can be found, will win a prize!


What is public art?

Public art comes in all shapes and sizes and can be found in many different places. A unique structure, a cool sidewalk, a colorful mural and even statues in a local cemetery can all be examples. Public art is accessible to everyone and is an expression of a community’s history, values or cultural perspective.

The Details:

In an effort to showcase the public art found throughout the entire state, questions and clues will be drawn from places found in eastern, western and northern Kentucky as well as in Lexington and Louisville. After solving the clue or guessing the piece’s location, you can submit any picture of the public art from a past, recent or current trip to the particular area. No Googling! We want these pictures to be from your own experience! The contest will officially begin next Tuesday, July 1.

Happy hunting!


 Alex Newby, Communications Assistant






Categories: Other | Tags: ,

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