Lexington mayoral candidates address the arts

Lexington cultural leaders packed the Downtown Arts Center on Thursday to hear what three of the four candidates for mayor had to say about the arts.

During a 90-minute forum presented by Women Leading Kentucky, Mayor Jim Newberry and Vice Mayor Jim Gray reiterated general support for the arts, which they had advocated during their time in office. Newcomer Skip Horine advocated a pro-business, pro free-speech environment for artists while advancing his campaign theme that the city government is rife with waste and corruption.

Candidate and former mayor Teresa Issac did not attend due to teaching commitments at Midway College.

The biggest applause line came for Newberry's advocating a new University of Kentucky art museum as a linchpin between Lexington and the UK communities.

All candidates said the mayor should be an advocate for the arts but rejected the idea of a dedicated tax for arts and cultural activities. Gray did support the concept of a small percentage — 0.5 percent was the figure mentioned — of the cost of new publicly funded buildings being dedicated to art.