Euclid Kroger to have locally created murals; could open by November

jpatton1@herald-leader.comJuly 23, 2014 

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Construction continues on the new Kroger on Euclid Ave. in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The old store, which closed March 15, was torn down in April of this year. The new store, which will 86,000 square feet with some parking on the roof, will have a drive-through pharmacy and is planned to offer 130,000 items, up from 80,000 in the old store. Photo by Charles Bertram | Staff

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Kroger wants to make the new Euclid Avenue store a work of art. Several works, in fact.

LexArts announced Wednesday that the Cincinnati-based grocery chain is seeking artists to create several murals for the store.

The main spot will be along Marquis Avenue, where there will be 15 4-foot by 7-foot panels, grouped into five sets of three each, said Nathan Zamarron, community arts manager for LexArts.

According to the call to artists, "This artwork will create a visual landmark within the community."

Inside the store, there will be two other mural spots, including one that will be highly visible at night, Zamarron said.

The wall facing Euclid Avenue will be a glass-fronted seating area that will feature a 42-foot by 8-foot mural. In the produce department, there will be spots for two related artworks.

"Our goal is to have murals finished by end of October, right around the opening of the store," Zamarron said.

Kroger has said the new store will reopen by the end of the year. Kroger officials did not respond immediately to a call for comment.

The 86,000-square-foot store will feature some parking on the roof, a drive-through pharmacy and thousands more items than the former store.

Spokesman Tim McGurk has said previously that it is planned as "a one-of-a-kind store that we will be very proud of, and I think the town will be proud of."

Budgets for the works are generous, Zamarron said, at $25,000, $10,000 and $8,000, respectively.

Kroger wants artists from Central Kentucky and has opened it to those who might have no mural experience. For details, go to LexArts.org. The deadline for proposals is 5 p.m. Aug. 22; artists will be notified of selection by Aug. 29.

One goal of the project apparently is to create good will and community ownership in the store, so the selection panel will be largely comprised of neighborhood residents, including some who have been vocal in opposition to the expanded store.

Zamarron said LexArts is hoping to create a space for the artists to create the murals where the public can watch, because the store will still be under construction.

"If this goes well, they may use this model in other locations around the country," Zamarron said. "It's exciting that they are trying this out in Lexington."

Janet Patton: (859) 231-3264. Twitter: @janetpattonhl.

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