For the final Gallery Hop of the year, the exhibit spaces and theater of the Downtown Arts Center have been dedicated to works by and about young artists.
Photographers of the East Seventh Street Center, and artists from LexArts' Youth Arts Council and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts theater company, are giving art lovers a look at the world through their eyes.
The East Seventh Street Center coordinates social service activities for young people in the neighborhood.
Jodie Koch, program coordinator for the center, and Lexington artists Jeff and Christine Gora paired professional photographers with participants in grades 4 to 10. The result is an exhibit called Peace Through Perspective, and it is on display in the second-floor rehearsal space of the Downtown Arts Center.
To an adult eye, there is something strange about these images. The camera is closer to the ground. The angles are sharper, the subjects more available, perhaps even more vulnerable than they would be if the photographer were an adult.
A child flashes gang signs. A lily stretches through a chain-link fence. A utility pole's wires take on the look of a ship's rigging. The young artists' vision is poignant and unmistakable.
Across the hall, in the second-floor gallery, Lexington's new Youth Arts Council is sponsoring an exhibit of paintings by young Bluegrass artists, including Bryan Station High School seniors Desny Guerrier and Eddie Resendiz.
Eddie is a native of Lexington whose pride in his family's Mexican heritage is evident in his work. His paintings are startling in their use of contrast. Harvest shows a group of men sharing a siesta in the shade of a tree whose branches are aflame with the orange and red figures of two reclining people.
Another portrait, Madeline, is of a homeless Latina woman barely protected by her umbrella. Her mouth is silenced by cross-hatch marks whose violence startles against the misty, rain-soaked townscape behind her.
Eddie's paintings are stories told about his world, Lexington's Winburn neighborhood.
"I paint stories from my culture, but I like when people see a painting and put their own stories to my art," he says. "Other people dance or write or sing. Art is the way I express myself. ... I have to have art."
Desny was born in Haiti and moved to Lexington when he was 6. He has been painting for two years, but his work reflects an insight and maturity that belies that brief experience.
"I paint from my imagination," he says, smiling. "Whatever you can imagine, you can paint."
Although he loves his art, Desny dreams of being a pilot.
In spite of his inexperience with acrylics, Desny is able to endow his subjects with personality. His portrait My Sisters is a serene and loving rendering of a moment shared by two young women busy with homework.
SCAPA needs no introduction to local theater lovers. Neither does Peter Shaffer's Amadeus, which tells the story of the greatest young artist of them all, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Director Paul Thomas says the play "challenges the mind and engages the audience on so many levels."
The play was chosen to complement the talented SCAPA artists: actors, designers, musicians and dancers.
"As far as I could learn, Amadeus has never been performed by a local company before," Thomas says.
Because the play requires production values beyond the reach of SCAPA's usual digs at Lafayette High School, Thomas approached the Friends of the Arts School, SCAPA's booster association, for funding to produce the show at the Downtown Arts Center. With the boosters' support, Thomas was able to offer his students the opportunity to play Shaffer's masterpiece in the DAC's theater.