The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
Fans of the original 2000 Horsemania might like to know that Scoop – Herald-Leader is back on outdoor display.
Scoop was sponsored by the Herald-Leader and created by then Herald-Leader promotions department manager Marianna McDonald. The black-and-white horse features headlines through the years including the late Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, the death of Elvis Presley and a strategically placed headline about Lorena Bobbit. The thoroughbred grazed in front of the Herald-Leader building during Horsemania in the summer and early fall of 2000 and was purchased by the Herald-Leader’s then-publisher Tim Kelly for the paper at the December 2000 auction. He has been displayed at various locations in the Herald-Leader building over the past 12 years, but this is his first outdoor display since 2000.
Herald-Leader Human Resources Manager Michael Wells says Scoop was placed back outside to, “fulfill his purpose of public art.”
Scoop will be on display year round and has been given a special coating and placed under the building’s front overhang for protection from inclement weather.
Despite several hurdles, LexArts’ 2011 Campaign for the Arts topped last year’s total, though it did not meet its goal.
The goal was $1.1 million, set after LexArts raised $1.003 million last year. This year’s campaign was just ahead of that pace, at $1,012,056, which LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said was gratifying, all things considered.
As the follow-up campaign to Horse Mania 2010, the 2011 campaign had history working against it. The 2001 arts campaign, on the heels of Horse Mania in 2000, also fell short of its goal because the public art project drained available funds and energy, officials said at the time.
This spring, LexArts lost $100,000 in annual allocations from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Clark credited a successful $50,000 challenge grant from Mayor Jim Gray and Gray’s donation of $39,368 from his salary for meeting the goal.
Clark also pointed to other positive trends in the campaign, including an increase in corporate giving, bucking a national trend. Ultimately, he said, the challenges buoyed the campaign.
In a news release, he said, “It goes to show you that people in this community have a philanthropic spirit and value the arts on a deep and meaningful level.”
Money from the campaign is used for LexArts’ allocations and grants for area artists, arts organizations and other projects.
Dec27Filed under: Actors Guild of Lexington, Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, Arts administration, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Central Kentucky Arts News, Christmas music, Classical Music, Country music, Downtown Arts Center, Film, Horsemania, Kentucky Theatre, Laura Bell Bundy, LexArts, Lexington Art League, Lexington Children's Theatre, Lexington Opera House, Lexington Philharmonic, Lexington Singers, Music, Musicals, Norton Center for the Arts, Opera, Secretariat, Singletary Center for the Arts, UBS Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, UK, Visual arts; Tagged as: Actors Guild of Lexington, Allison Kaiser, Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Alltech Fortnight Festival, Balagula Theatre, Blake Shelton, Debra Hoskins, Eric Seale, Gustavo Dudamel, Haiti, Institute 193, John Lithgow, La Bohème, Laura Bell Bundy, Lexington Art League, Lexington Chamber Chorale, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Lexington Singers, Marvin Hamlisch, Ouanamithe, Phillip March Jones, ProjectSEE Theartre, Rolling Stones, Scott Terrell, Southeastern Theatre Conference, Spotlight Lexington Festival, Stephanie Pevec, Steven A. Hoffman, The Chieftains, Thoroughbred Community Theatre, Tony Bennett, Trombone Shorty, U2, UK Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Lexington’s 2010 year in arts could not have been weirder if you took the city and plopped it in the middle of Florida. Between some major changes at area arts institutions and the unprecedented wave of local and national arts activity prompted by the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, it was a year unlike any we have had or will probably see again.
■ While we did not get U2 or the Rolling Stones as WEG organizers had originally hoped, the games did fill up theaters, and in many cases, theater seats during the two weeks and three weekends of the games. Topping the bill was the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel at the Norton Center for the Arts. It was a booking that was deemed impossible by New York agents and drew national attention, all made possible by the persistence of for Norton Center assistant managing director Debra Hoskins who smoothed the road with bourbon and chocolate.
The event itself was an unforgettable evening for the audience and a great experience for area musicians and others who got to interact with one of the world’s great orchestras and shining stars.
Other great performances brought in by the Games were an evening with Marvin Hamlisch and the UK Symphony Orchestra, which had a great fortnight playing for the opening ceremonies and a production of La Boheme as well; Blake Shelton, Trombone Shorty and Laura Bell Bundy at the Spotlight Lexington Festival downtown and performances by Tony Bennett, John Lithgow and the Chieftains.
There is talk of extending both the Spotlight and Alltech Fortnight festivals, which presented the bulk of the entertainment, into the future. But we probably won’t see this level of activity again unless the games come back.
The Games also brought a number of high profile art exhibits to the area including a retrospective of the horse in American art at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky and the Gift from the Desert look at Arabian horses at the International Museum of the Horse.
■ Scott Terrell was hired as the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra’s new music director in 2009, but this is the year we really started to see his vision for the orchestra unfold, and its reverberations in the community. Unveiling the orchestra’s 2010-11 season, he showed he was willing to break traditions and initiate new collaborations. He presented Messiah is a smaller format than years past and brought groups including local school and college choirs into the Philharmonic fold for performances that broke the orchestral concert mold. He also instituted a new style of concert preview with the Kicked Back Classics event at the Downtown Arts Center in November.
The moves have not come without some friction, which change often produces. There was unhappiness over the Lexington Singers not being part of the Messiah this year, as Terrell wanted to go with a smaller chorus and the Singers did not want to downsize. Enter the Lexington Chamber Chorale as a new collaborator and the Singers presenting their own Messiah in a holiday arts season whose calendar was largely rewritten this year. Precipitated by the changes, the Singers are asserting themselves more as an entity in their own right, un-tethered to the Philharmonic calendar.
How all of this will settle remains to be seen. But it is clear this will be a new Philharmonic under Terrell’s baton.
The orchestra also got a new executive director as Allison Kaiser came over from the same post at the Lexington Art League and Stephanie Pevec took over that post.
■ This was the year without Actors Guild of Lexington. Long regarded as Lexington’s flagship theater for adult audiences, financial troubles and management departures in 2009 all but shuttered the company this year except for one production, a concert version of The Who’s Tommy at Buster’s Billiards and Backroom and the new Moondance at Midnight Pass amphitheater. That said, theater thrived in the area with first rate productions by the Lexington Children’s Theatre and area college and community groups and emergence of some new organizations such as ProjectSEE Theartre and productions out of the Thoroughbred Community Theatre in Midway. And there were successes such as Balagula Theatre’s strong showing in the Southeastern Theatre Conference Convention here in Lexington. Actors Guild has announced a lineup of shows for 2011 under the guidance of new artistic director Eric Seale, but the group will be joining an active theater scene.
Some other big stories of the year that is now almost done were:
■ Centre College’s Norton Center for the Arts tapped Steven A. Hoffman as its new director, following the departure of longtime director George Foreman to the University of Georgia. With this month’s departure of assistant managing director Debra Hoskins, there has been a complete turnover in management at the Norton Center. This will be a story to watch in 2011.
■ Alltech launched a project sending University of Kentucky voice students to Ouanamithe, Haiti, to launch a music program and form a children’s choir. The choir came to Central Kentucky and made several appearances during the World Equestrian Games.
■ The Southeastern Theatre Conference, the nation’s largest regional theater convention, came to Lexington for the first time in more than 20 years, and by all accounts, it went wonderfully.
■ Secretariat brought some Hollywood glamour back to the Bluegrass, including a gala premier at the Kentucky Theatre attended by star Diane Lane and many others.
■ Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy launched a country music career with her Mercury Nashville debut Achin’ and Shakin’.
■ Horse Mania returned to the streets of Lexington, 10 years after the original edition in 2000.
■ Michael Tick was named the new dean of the University of Kentucky’s College of Fine Arts.
■ The Pioneer Playhouse in Danville suffered massive flooding during rainstorms in early May, but recovered and went on to a successful season thanks to an army of volunteers.
■ Phillip March Jones’ Institute 193 emerged as a major force in creating and presenting visual arts in Central Kentucky.
■ Among world premiers in Lexington this year were Aleks Merilo’s Blur in the Rear View and Bringing It Home: Voices of Student Veterans, by UK Theatre, Beth Kander’s See Jane Quit by Bluegrass Community and Technical College Theatre, Roger Zare’s Geometries by the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington, Frank X Walker’s I Dedicate This Ride at Lexington Children’s Theatre, and the regional premier of Brian Hampton’s The Jungle Fun Room by Studio Players.
If you thought you needed to get in your Horse Mania 2010 tour before Friday, you can slow down.
Despite some notices that said the painted pony exhibit was leaving Lexington streets Friday, LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark says they horses will actually stay out until “toward the end of the month. ” He added that taking them in will be a three day process.
Like the original Horsemania in 2000, Horse Mania 2010 will go on display at the Kentucky Horse Park during the annual Southern Lights show starting Nov. 26 until Dec. 8, when they will be taken to Keeneland for the Dec. 11 auction.
The fiberglass horses with designs created by local artists went on display in mid-July and have since attracted a steady stream of camera-toting fans trying to see all 82. The Herald-Leader’s thorough Horse Mania Guide is still available at our offices at 100 Midland Avenue.
Wednesday afternoon, we followed a few of the painted ponies out of their corral at Lorillard Lofts and on to the streets of Lexington.
Horse Play for Arts Education, a spinoff of Horse Mania 2010, was unveiled Wednesday morning by LexArts with students all over Lexington designing and decorating “foals,” smaller versions of the Horse Mania horses.
Horse Mania is a public art project that first filled the streets of Lexington in 2000. The new edition is designed to coincide with the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games in September and October.
Hopes are fans of the project will take to the streets across the city to see the horses like they did in 2000, and Fayette County public schools Superintendent Stu Silberman said that’s a good motivator.
“It’s human nature,” Silberman said after looking at student designs Wednesday morning. “When people know their work is going to be on display they work harder.”
Much like the original Horse Mania, designs for Horse Play ranged from patterns like a puzzle horse to representations of Kentucky life and traditions to civic mindedness. Sayre Middle School student Clay Barnett’s City Horse depicted the construction and population of a city, including an alien space ship landing in town.
“We were happy that we had 100 percent participation,” of the public schools in the design competition, Silberman said.
In all, 50 foals and 7 full-sized horses are heading out to county schools to be decorated. They will be on display along with the 79 horses by local artists starting June 30. They will be on display until after the World Equestrian Games, and will be sold at auction in December at Keeneland.
“I hope most of the schools will be able to buy their horses back,” Silberman said.
Fifty percent of proceeds from the auction will benefit the school’s arts education program and the other 50 percent will go to LexArts’ Youth Arts Council and other arts-in-education programs.
LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said Horse Play, “Showcases the talents of our young people and arts educators and draws attention to creativity in the schools.”
Nov10Filed under: Central Kentucky Arts News, Classical Music, Horsemania, Lexington Philharmonic, Music, Visual arts; Tagged as: Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, Big Brown, Funny Cide, Gary R. Bibbs, HorseMania 2010, Horsetails 2010 website, L.V. Harkness, Lexington Philharmonic, Lucinda Alston Chapman, Smarty Jones, Federico Pizzurro
HorseMania 2010 isn’t the only equine-related art project that will ride again during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Horsetails, a project that the Lexington Philharmonic first orchestrated in 2003 and repeated the next three years, is returning to coincide with next year’s big event.
The public can get a look at the pieces for this year’s event starting Tuesday morning, when the Horsetails 2010 website is launched.
The idea behind Horsetails is to highlight the link between classical music and horses: Hair from horses’ tails is used in the bows of string instruments. The artworks in Horsetails use hair from the tails of famous horses including Big Brown, Funny Cide and Smarty Jones. Showpieces are by many local notable artists, including Lucinda Alston Chapman, Federico Pizzurro and Gary R. Bibbs.
All 54 pieces will have a premiere exhibition in April at L.V. Harkness and will be shown at other locations in and beyond Central Kentucky from April until WEG, Sept. 25 to Oct. 10. The pieces will be auctioned off during the games, with proceeds benefitting Partners in Education, a program that supports music education.
A dark SUV with a trailer rolled up next to ArtsPlace Friday morning carrying some familiar figures: Horsemania horses.
The four fiberglass colts on Patrick Keough’s trailer were the first tangible sign that the popular 2000 public art exhibit will be returning to Lexington in 2010 for the World Equestrian Games.
“That’s the most frequent question I get, ‘When are the horses coming back?’” LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said.
The 2000 exhibit of fiberglass horses decorated by local artists was displayed all over the streets of downtown Lexington and beyond. It was wildly popular, sending people on walking tours throughout the summer. Some of those horses can still be seen around the area at local businesses that bought them at a Keeneland auction late that fall.
Clark said 10 years was a good interval to wait for the next exhibit.
“If you do it too often, it may start to lose its charm,” Clark said.
Horsemania 2010 will work much like it did a decade ago, with around 80 horses being decorated by local artists. A notable exception will be the involvement of Lexington’s sister cities – Deauville, France; County Kildare, Ireland; Shinhidaka, Japan; and Newmarket, England. Each town will select an artist to decorate a horse, which will be part of the display.
The calendar will also unfold much like the original Horsemania. LexArts is currently soliciting sponsorships of horses at $5,000 each for the 79 local horses and $7,500 each for the four sister city horses. The call for artists will be in the winter of 2010, selection will be in the spring with the horses hitting the streets in July and the auction in December 2010.
Horsemania was at the beginning of a public art craze that started with decorated cows in Chicago and went on to include guitars in Cleveland and pigs in Cincinnati.
Keough, owner of Shelton, Neb.-based America’s Fiberglass Animals, which made the original Horsemania figures, said horses have been one of the popular figures he has done, with cities like Louisville and Ocala, Fla., staging horse projects.
“But we were the first,” Clark interjected.
Keough responded, “That’s right. It was you all that made the phone ring.”
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich