The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
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.
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