Arts & Culture

Local Materials Get Second Life as Art


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 20, 2009) − As Lexington, the University of Kentucky, and other communities across the nation consider renovating and reinvigorating old spaces by reclaiming, reprogramming and revitalizing existing structures and materials, artists in the Bluegrass and beyond have taken leadership roles in finding ways to use abandoned and neglected buildings as exhibition spaces and utilizing reclaimed materials to create their art.

With such a growing interest in reuse, a summer art residency and public art exhibition focused on the South Hill district of Lexington and UK asked artists to contribute new pieces of art to the landscape that responds to the theme "Reclamation" through creative reuse of materials in sculpture. The result is the outdoor sculpture exhibition "Reclamation,” showcasing sculpture from UK students and featured regional artists, currently on display in Lexington. 

“Reclamation” benefits graduate students, Lexington and UK equally, giving regional art students an opportunity to have work put on display in Lexington, while providing the community with new pieces of public art. The program's exhibit, which opened as part of the city's June Gallery Hop festivities, connects artworks dotting the landscape from the historic district of South Hill to the UK campus.

The exhibition features sculpture by both UK students and featured guest artists Patrick Toups, a graduate student at Georgia State University, and William Vannerson, a graduate student at the University of Kansas. Toups and Vannerson's sculptures, “Recover” and “Tractortown Titan,” were created during a three-week residency with UK Department of Art.

"Recover" by Toups was developed from the artist's studies of mammoth tables and fabricated using reclaimed materials and recycled iron castings around UK.

Vannerson's sculpture "Tractortown Titan" refers to industrial and agricultural implements, searching for life in the cast-offs of a post-industrial society.

Other artists participating in "Reclamation" are Etienne Jackson, of Georgia State University, and UK graduate students Luke Achterberg, Mel Van Sandt and Nate Hatch.

"Reclamation" begins at the Cigar Flats and meanders through the historic district’s streets toward the courtyard of CenterCourt. Visitors are then welcome to walk through the UK campus from the Student Center to the sculpture garden at the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, where the sculpture “Coal Pot,” by internationally renowned artist El Anatsui, is installed. 

The “Reclamation” residency program and corresponding exhibition are presented by UK Department of Art in partnership with the Art Museum at the University of Kentucky, LexArts and the South Hill Group.

For more information about the sculpture exhibit "Reclamation," contact Jeremy Colbert, at the UK Department of Art, by e-mail.