Arts & Culture

Garry Bibbs’ Art Commissioned for Lexington Senior Center

Hear donor Kirk Kopitzke talk about his donation of "Being Alive" to the Lexington Senior Center. Video by LEX TV.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 8, 2020) Thanks to a generous donation, the Lexington Senior Center is now home to an inspiring piece of art created by renowned sculptor Garry R. Bibbs, professor at University of Kentucky School of Art and Visual Studies. The metal wall sculpture, titled “Being Alive,” was commissioned and donated by Senior Center participant Kirk Kopitzke.

Koptizke commissioned the work in memory of his wife Betsy and donated it to the Friends of the Lexington Senior Center for display at the center.

“I started thinking about a project I could undertake to show my honor to her, for her to be represented somehow in a platform bigger than myself,” Kopitzke said.

He solicited senior artists from the area to create work that would reflect the mission of the Senior Center and be relatable to seniors. “I’m deliriously happy that it came to fruition,” he said.

The selected piece is a metal wall sculpture, within a 3-foot radius, fabricated out of stainless steel and bronze plate. The circular frame encloses a silhouette of a woman running with her dog, based on a photo taken by Kopitzke of Betsy and their dog.

“The artwork is based on a photo, a moment in life, which conveys the energy and ecstasy of being alive. We see it as life, its memories, its values, the stories and how we live it. Kirk charged my art expertise to design an artwork to inspire elderly people to live! And to give life to those who come to the Lexington Senior Center,” Bibbs said.

“We hope that this piece will inspire and bring joy to our participants,” said Kristy Stambaugh, director of Aging and Disabilities Services. “Additionally, we hope that others will consider donations of meaningful, juried art to the Friends of the Lexington Senior Center 501(c)(3) in the future.”

Garry Bibbs, head of the Sculpture Area of UK School of Art and Visual Studies, has expertise in both sculpture and printmaking. He has also been an active member of Lexington’s Pew Civic Entrepreneur Initiative, which is a coalition group whose goal is to confront and solve issues relevant to the community on race relations and leadership.

Bibbs received his bachelor’s degree in art studio from Kentucky State University and his master’s degree in art from UK. After graduation, he received a Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship to study at The Chicago Art Institute, and over the years he has completed more than 35 public art commissions throughout the eastern region of the United States. Bibbs' exhibition history includes showings presented through the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Ruschman Art Gallery in Indianapolis, the Hertz Gallery in Louisville, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati.

This new work by Bibbs hangs in the central staircase of Lexington Senior Center and is immediately viewable upon entering the building. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lexington Senior Center is temporarily closed. Follow the Lexington Senior Center on Facebook to keep up with virtual and drive-by events happening at the center.

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, part of the College of Fine Arts, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studiesart educationcuratorial studies and digital media design.

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photo of Garry Bibbs on ladder installing "Being Aliver" at Lexington Senior Center
photo of donor Kirk Kopitzke with "Being Alive" sculpture by Garry Bibbs in the Lexington Senior Center
photo of Garry Bibbs takin cover off "Being Alive" at Lexington Senior Center

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