In 2000, LexArts brought Horse Mania to the streets of Lexington. Area businesses and organizations sponsored the 79 fiberglass horses that were decorated by local artists and served as public art throughout the summer.
Now the popular project has returned with 82 horses that are on display starting Thursday in Horse Mania 2010. Horse Play, a companion project gave school children an opportunity to create foals that are currently on display at Lexington public libraries.
"Virtually all elementary, middle and high schools participated in Horse Play," said Tania Blanich, chief operating officer of LexArts. "It has allowed us to expand and involve non-professional artists."
Bringing back the Horse Mania project, which was one of the most successful in Lexington's history generating $1.6 million in revenue, was a no-brainer, said Steve Grossman, senior vice president of Hilliard Lyons, former LexArts board member and co-chair of Horse Mania 2010.
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"People have been asking for (Horse Mania) back since we took the horses off the streets," Grossman said. "Bringing it back only seemed like the natural thing to do. Plus, with the addition of Horse Play, it all becomes a great way to promote public art awareness and raise funds for charities."
The public art display creates what Grossman calls a "walking tour" that brings people to the city.
The horses and foals will be on display for the duration of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which take place this fall at the Kentucky Horse Park. The horses will be auctioned off at Keeneland on Dec. 11. Proceeds will go to local charities and LexArt's developing public art program.
The foals will be sold at auction in 2011 with proceeds to be divided among each school's art program, Lexington's Youth Arts Council and related programs.