Horse Mania is steering clear of the rough terrain of downtown Lexington's sidewalks, which will delay its debut by a couple of weeks.
The painted ponies that had been scheduled to hit the sidewalks July 1 will now be in place July 15. LexArts chief operating officer Tania Blanich said the delay is because sidewalk construction on Main and Vine streets would have postponed or moved the placement of more than a dozen horses on prime real estate for the public art display.
Horse Mania is a public art project featuring 137 fiberglass horses decorated by local artists and school students. The horses will be displayed through the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games and auctioned later in the fall, with proceeds going to area charities.
When the original Horse Mania went on display in 2000, Fourth of July festivities in downtown became a big coming-out party for the exhibit.
Blanich said LexArts and horse sponsors, who paid $5,000 each to support horses, would have liked to have the display up by Independence Day weekend.
"The concern though was for the locations of the horses more than the timing," Blanich said.
She said the sidewalk improvements will affect only a portion of the horses, but LexArts and the Horse Mania committee wanted to stick with a plan to have all the horses hit the street at the same time.
"If you're doing a public art project, you want the 'wow' factor," Blanich said.
And that wow would have diminished if horses were not placed along two of downtown's most traveled streets.
Blanich said the planned locations for a few horses will have to be changed because of sidewalk construction, but LexArts has been told that most of the horses can be placed in their planned locations by mid-July.
There will be some horses to look at during the Fourth of July weekend, though. Sculptures for the Horse Play portion of the exhibit, 50 "foals" and a few full-size horses decorated by students at area schools, will go on display at Lexington's public libraries as planned on July 1.