Bourbon barrels to be canvases for new LexArts public art project

Phillip High's "Glade Runner" and Barbara Harper-Bach and Neil Suiler's "Old Lexington" (closest, on the right) stood waiting for auction at Lorillard Lofts in December. LexArts officials say the public event probably helped the 2011 Campaign for the Arts instead of hindering it, as it was believed to have done in 2001. © Herald-Leader photo by Rich Copley.

Phillip High’s “Glade Runner” and Barbara Harper-Bach and Neil Suiler’s “Old Lexington” (closest, on the right) stood waiting for auction at Lorillard Lofts in December 2010. LexArts newest project is The Bourbon Barrel Project. Photo by Rich Copley | Herald-Leader staff

LexArts is inviting area artists to riff on another regional icon this fall: bourbon barrels.

The Bourbon Barrel Project on Town Branch will place authentic bourbon barrels embellished by area artists through downtown Lexington to highlight the waterway that flows under Vine Street and Midland Avenue. The display will be this fall to coincide with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in September and the Bourbon Chase, a 200-mile race along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, Oct. 18 and 19. LexArts has been selected as a beneficiary of the Bourbon Chase and will pay the $1,500 entry fee for allotted teams that raise $6,000 or more for the arts.

LexArts has put out a call to artists seeking submissions of proposals for barrel designs. As with the Horse Mania projects, design proposals will be presented to potential sponsors, who will choose designs they want to support. Each selected artist will receive a $1,200 honorarium to create a barrel. The deadline for submissions is June 17.

This will be the fourth public art project of this type presented by LexArts, formerly the Lexington Arts and Cultural Council, following the Horse Mania projects of 2000 and 2010 and Dynamic Doors in 2003. Another project, Wildcat Madness in 2001, was presented by the University of Kentucky Basketball Museum.

The Bourbon Barrell Project is being managed in partnership with Alltech’s Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company. Alltech opened the Town Branch Distillery last fall, where it produces Town Branch Bourbon and Pearse Lyons Reserve.


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