Saturday, November 8, 2008

Downtown art

Downtown has had some form of public art since the mid 19th century. In many cases this came in the form of monuments, commemorating the accomplishments some well known residents but mostly in the form of memorials the valiant war/public servant dead. There is one other, the one in Gratz Park, in the fountain,which memorializes a famous Lexington author. Public art, for the most part, has been an indoor exhibition and it has only been in the last several years that the city has brought them outdoors.

My memory has faded a bit, but if I recall correctly, the Festival Market had a bronze statue on Main St. It depicted a young lad sharing his ice cream cone with his sister. This was the first piece of outdoor art I had seen other than the aforementioned memorials. The statue was removed when the Marketplace failed to do what the owners expected and was sold at auction. In the 1990's the Thoroughbred Park received its horses. The ones on the hill, the ones on the track and the ones at each end of the track. Then in 2000 The Flying Horse of Gansu took its place across from City Hall. It has just been reset in place after an expensive rebuilding, following a support failure.(something about inferior Chinese workmanship or materials or the like)

For downtown, that is about it. Then there are the occasional temporary artwork displays. First, there were the decorated horses. They were not all downtown and some are still on display in their new locations. Second , were the decorated doors. Doors from the demolitions in Bluegrass-Aspendale were painted and displayed, then sold, gone from view and from most folks memory.

For the last year the local arts organizations have placed some larger 3-d pieces in various sites downtown as temporary public art. At the top of the post are two photos, one of the recent temporary art and the other an example of the older memorial art. If any of you who may read this have any opinion, drop me a line and tell me how you feel about one or the other.

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