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Lexington artists showcased on video clips at Shell gas pump

Creative Lexington founder Bryan Mullins has videos playing on gas pumps at Shell Gas stations showcasing individuals and businesses around Lexington.
Creative Lexington founder Bryan Mullins has videos playing on gas pumps at Shell Gas stations showcasing individuals and businesses around Lexington. mcornelison@herald-leader.com

In the few moments it takes to fill up your gas tank, you can clean your windshield, throw out the trash in your car or learn about a local artist.

Video players on gas pumps at 10 Lexington Shell stations feature clips that profile local artists and the work they do.

Clifton Cox is profiled in what Creative Lexington is calling a Snapshot Bio. Cox is the aquatics facility manager at the University of Kentucky, but he is also a sculptor who works in metal.

“Art is a hobby for me and it is a lot of fun,” Cox explains. His collaboration with Creative Lexington gave him a chance to showcase his work and his love of art. It also put him in contact with other artists in the community.

The video of Cox includes footage of him talking about his art and creating it. It’s one of several by Bryan Mullins and his team at Creative Lexington. The goal of the two- to three-minute Snapshot Bios is to bring attention to positive aspects of the Lexington community, Mullins said.

Mullins owns Red Oak Digital Network, a company that operates 90 high definition screens at Shell stations. The videos — which are getting 350,000 viewers a month — can also be viewed through LexArt’s and Lexington Art League’s social media, the Creative Lexington website and Youtube.

Usually advertisements are displayed through the network, but Mullins wanted to share his own content on the gas station monitors.

All walks of life pump gas. You can be rich, poor, black, white.

Bryan Mullins, Founder

“I want to affect what happens in Lexington,” said Mullins, a business owner, a Kentucky native and an arts advocate. Other Snapshot Bios feature Appalachian poet Frank X Walker, UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey and Kentucky Ballet Theatre Principal Dancer Kelsey Van Tine.

Mullins said it was easy to find artists willing to be videotaped about their craft. He plans to move in a new direction with the videos eventually, featuring places of interest and people who are not necessarily artists.

He wants to get “people out there known that might not be known,” he said.

That couldn’t be more pleasing to the arts professionals who are working with Creative Lexington to advocate for the arts.

“It is a terrific project and we are very supportive of Bryan’s efforts to further engage and develop Lexington’s vibrant art community,” said Maury Sparrow, LexArts communications director.

Enabling the public to know each artist gives the artwork a voice, said LexArts President and CEO Ellen A. (Nan) Plummer. “Knowing the artist and his or her motivations brings the work to life,” she said.

The Lexington Art League is also in collaboration with Creative Lexington. Executive Director Stephanie Harris said the videos are another venue to showcase local art and artists.

“We have a real responsibility to make sure we are doing everything we can to help the community understand how vibrant the arts community is,” she said.

In addition to the Snapshot Bios, Creative Lexington has other arts-related projects including Posi+iveChangeLex and the Film Project that will all “highlight the people, places, and things in Lexington,” Mullins explains.

Posi+iveChangeLex offers a “platform for people to display and share teachable moments with one another, learn from one another and teach one another.”

For example, the video “Knowledge & Kindness” shows people teaching each other how to use a smart phone, how to turn on a gas stove and how to add oil to a car. The one-minute video concludes: “Knowledge and kindness know no age.”

The goal of the Film Project is to produce a feature film in 2017 in Lexington. Creative Lexington hosted a competition. Entrants had to submit a screenplay by June 15 and 74 entries were received. Forty of the entries were from Kentuckians. The screenplay had to have a rating of PG-13 or below and had to be produced for a maximum of $250,000. Judges will vote and five finalist will be decided by June 30, Mullins said. The winner of the competition will get $5,000.

Creative Lexington wants to reach everyone with their effort to celebrate the people and places of Lexington through their access to the monitors at the Shell gas stations.

“All walks of life pump gas. You can be rich, poor, black, white,” Mullins said. “We can talk to everyone.”

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