Jazz in Duncan Park will be offered on Friday nights in September, thanks to a stage being built this weekend by volunteers and city employees.
"We thought to get started we could do four jazz and blues events in September," said Marty Clifford, president of the North Limestone Neighborhood Association.
The neighborhood group has been the prime mover behind getting the stage paid for and constructed.
Next summer, supporters hope to present music and cultural programs for children and adults. The stage will be a temporary venue to be used for the next three years while funds are raised to build a permanent, covered facility, Clifford said.
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Plans call for presenting music, theater, dance and "all kinds of arts events" that have not been readily accessible to residents in that section of the city, he added.
A steering committee — called The Team for the Dream — has been formed to work on getting quality arts programming at Duncan Park. Members include area residents, members of the North Limestone and Martin Luther King neighborhood associations and representatives of arts groups throughout the city, including Lexington Children's Theatre and the Lexington Ballet.
"We think it's a fantastic idea," said Shannon Cline, orchestra manager for the Lexington Philharmonic. "We do a lot with libraries. I'm not sure we've done anything with city parks before."
A relatively uncomplicated program would be taking the orchestra's "petting zoo" to the park so children could touch and play real instruments.
The idea for a stage and Jazz in the Park grew out of a colorful mural painted on the side of Al's Bar on North Limestone, a visual tribute to the rich musical heritage of Lexington's north side.
Painted by local artist Waseem Touma, the mural depicts some of the talented blues, jazz, rock and bluegrass musicians Lexington has produced — all of whom got their start performing in the North Limestone neighborhood.
"That's when we discovered there was a musical culture here," Clifford said. "We started thinking of all the things that could be realized by revitalizing that culture."
When the mural was unveiled last fall, the North Limestone Neighborhood Association hosted a street party. The event had eight hours of live music and served as a fund-raiser to build a stage.
The Lexington Lions Club has paid the $4,200 for materials to build the 20-by-30-foot stage. Nine members turned out Friday to work on the stage, and will be back Saturday to finish up the job, said president John Collins.