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TEDx showcased little-known Lexington creativity

The monthlong focus on creativity in Lexington is about over, but let's hope it's really just the beginning.

April began with the Creative Cities Summit, included numerous other events and ended Friday with a TEDx seminar at Buster's Billiards & Backroom that attracted about 200 people.

Technology executive Kent Lewis organized the local version of the informative seminars and video lectures produced by the TED organization, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED's theme is "ideas worth spreading."

This seminar consisted of short presentations by more than a dozen enterprising Kentuckians and former Kentuckians.

Jim Bates, who spends much of his time in Kentucky, is general manager of HRTV, a television-based multimedia network about horse racing. He called for more creativity in the horse industry, saying there's no reason technology can't help reverse racing's decline in popularity.

"It's the perfect sport for today's instantaneous society," he said. "It's a two-minute event! A golf tournament takes four days!"

Bates, one of ESPN's first employees, talked about how the 24-hour sports network has helped change the nature of sports in America — and not all for the better. He lamented that children's sports have become highly organized by adults, which too often keeps kids from learning leadership, problem-solving and social skills.

Stanley Hainsworth, who was born and raised in small-town Western Kentucky, discussed his career as a top creative officer at Nike, Lego and Starbucks. He now owns a brand-development company, Tether. "Life is too short to not do what you're passionate about," he said.

Among the other speeches:

■ Kris Kimel, president of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corp., discussed space research.

■ Community gardener Jim Embry talked about the importance of society reconnecting with the earth.

■ Christine Kuhn, an artist and former research scientist, talked about why art is important.

■ Artist Marjorie Guyon discussed her work.

■ Software developer Todd Willey talked about how technology can better connect people in the future.

■ Karen Gerstandt, a German-born scientist at the University of Kentucky, discussed her research into clean water and energy that was used in a new kind of power plant that opened in November in Norway.

■ Bill Cloyd talked about his company, Newton's Attic, that uses play to teach kids science.

■ Wes Keltner, founder of a virtual technology firm, discussed how video games create emotional attachments.

■ Former Kentuckian Britt Selvitelle talked about his work as one of the lead software engineers for Twitter.

Lewis said he plans to organize another TEDx event in Lexington in the fall, focused on children and creativity. He already has signed up his first two speakers; they're both 12 years old.

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