Public art chosen for bridge on Oliver Lewis Way

A model of artist Christopher Weed's proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Photo by Matt Goins

A model of artist Christopher Weed’s proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015. Photo by Matt Goins

Colorado Springs, Colo., artist Christopher Weed‘s Origins has been chosen as the public artwork that will adorn the bridge on Oliver Lewis Way, which runs just south of the Main Street and Newtown Pike intersection between Rupp Arena and the Distillery District.

In an echo of the location, Weed’s work will consist of six abstract sculptures made to symbolize flaming bourbon barrels in a process used to char them inside before they are filled with un-aged spirit.

Weed was one of three finalists for the project, which received more than 100 proposals. The other finalists were Blessing Hancock of Tucson, Ariz., and Guy Kemper of Versailles.

Christopher Weed presents his proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

Christopher Weed presents his proposal for public art to enhance the Oliver Lewis Bridge during a public meeting at M. S. Rezny Studio Gallery in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

In a press release from LexArts, Andrea Fisher of Transylvania University’s Morlan Gallery, said all three proposals were outstanding but said Weed’s work, “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.”

The press release said Weed’s work was the unanimous choice of the selection committee.

The project is a collaboration between LexArts and the Lexington Fayette Urban-County Government and, with a budget of nearly $200,000 in public and private funds, it will be the biggest public art project ever commissioned by the city.

Second District Urban County Councilwoman Shevawn Akers spearheaded the project and said it was, “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. ”

Work will begin immediately on Origins, and it will be unveiled and dedicated during festivities leading up to the Breeder’s Cup, Oct. 24-31.

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