New Public Art Installation Coming to Downtown

Published 7:13 pm Thursday, August 22, 2019


Communications Director

The Art Center of the Bluegrass is facilitating a community exploration of mosaic artwork this fall, including community classes, workshops with local students, an interactive exhibit of mosaic art, which will all culminate into a public art installation.

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Mosaics are one of the oldest art forms in the world, with examples dating back to the 3rd millennium BCE. Popular in the Greek and Roman world, mosaics can be found in Catholic basilicas from the 4th century through the Renaissance, in early Islamic architecture (7th and 8th centuries), and in the Byzantine art of the Middle Ages. Through their projects this fall, the Art Center will explore how this ancient art form remains relevant today.

The Art Center has engaged Louisville artist Tracy Pennington of Madcap Mosaics as guest artist for the project. She is a member of the Louisville Visual Artisans guild and is a member of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Teaching Artist Directory. Pennington has recently completed several high-profile mosaic commissions in Kentucky, including the creation of two wall murals for Maker’s Mark distillery. Tracy’s past artist residencies have included Second Street School in Frankfurt, Jefferson Community and Technical College and the Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Pennington will lead a series of workshops with students from KSD over the next several weeks. Students will design and create a mosaic mural that will be installed on the side elevation of the 4th street entrance ramp to the Art Center.

Kinkade says the mural will not be representational, but rather will feature colors and patterns. “We are excited to once again partner with the Kentucky School for the Deaf,” says Kinkade. “We’ve gotten to know many of the KSD students over the past few years through our free field trip program and we look forward to seeing their creative talents shine through this project.”

Kinkade says that one of the goals of the project is to help foster a sense of “place” for KSD students. “The Kentucky School for the Deaf plays such an important role in Danville’s identity and history,” says Kinkade. “We wanted their students to be able to participate in the ongoing beautification of our downtown in a very visible, tangible way. Being able to point to a piece of public art and say —‘I made that!’ — forges a powerful sense of community connection.”

In addition to the student workshops, Pennington is teaching three community mosaic workshops and also giving a public lecture on the history and enduring appeal of the art form. The lecture will take place noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 at the Art Center. The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for students, at the door. The three workshops are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5 (6 to 9 p.m.), Thursday, Sept. 12 (6 to 9 p.m.) and Saturday, Sept. 28 (1 to 4 p.m.). Each workshop will be a different project and the workshops are open to both children and adults. The $35 registration fee includes all materials. Sign language interpretation will be provided at the lecture and community workshops.

Later in the fall, the Art Center will host an interactive mosaic exhibit that features both professional and student artwork and also provides hands-on opportunities for the public to contribute to a temporary mosaic installation inside the Art Center.

The primary funding for the mosaic project is coming from the National Endowment for the Arts via their Challenge America grant program, which offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations — those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability.

Once this initial grant was secured, the Art Center was able to leverage additional funding for the project. The project was selected from a national pool of applicants for an AARP Community Challenge Grant and also received funding from the LG&E-KU Arts in the Bluegrass grant program via LexArts. “This project really resonated with our funding partners,” says Kinkade. “We’re very grateful for their support.”

The dates for the installation of the public artwork are still being finalized and a public event will be held to celebrate its completion later this fall.


Lunch with the Arts, featuring artist Tracy Pennington on “Mosaics as Public Art” will be noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28 at Art Center of the Bluegrass. Cost is $5 at the door, all ages welcome.

Mosaic Workshops will be offered on:  Wall Art, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 5, cost is $35 and it’s open to ages 8+; Garden Paver, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 12, cost is $35 and it’s open to ages 6+; and Initials, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 28, cost is $35 and open to ages 6+. All children attending workshops must be accompanied by an adult.