Visual Arts

Students participate in Horse Play, a public art project

Horse Play for Arts Education, a spinoff of Horse Mania 2010, was unveiled Wednesday morning by LexArts with students all over Lexington designing and decorating "foals," smaller versions of the Horse Mania horses.

Horse Mania is a public art project that first filled the streets of Lexington in 2000. The new edition is designed to coincide with the Alltech/FEI World Equestrian Games in September and October.

Hopes are that fans of the project will take to the streets across the city to see the horses as they did in 2000, and Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Stu Silberman said that's a good motivator.

"It's human nature," Silberman said after looking at student designs Wednesday morning. "When people know their work is going to be on display, they work harder."

Much like the original Horse Mania, designs for Horse Play ranged from patterns like a puzzle horse to representations of Kentucky life and traditions to civic pride. Sayre Middle School student Clay Barnett's City Horse depicted the construction and population of a city, including an alien space ship landing in town.

"We were happy that we had 100 percent participation" of the public schools in the design competition, Silberman said.

In all, 50 foals and seven full-sized horses are heading out to county schools to be decorated. They will be on display along with the 79 horses by local artists starting June 30. They will be up until after the World Equestrian Games, and will be sold at auction in December at Keeneland.

"I hope most of the schools will be able to buy their horses back," Silberman said.

Fifty percent of proceeds from the auction will benefit the school's arts education program and the other 50 percent will go to LexArts' Youth Arts Council and other arts-in-education programs.

LexArts president and CEO Jim Clark said Horse Play "showcases the talents of our young people and arts educators and draws attention to creativity in the schools."