Arts & Culture

InsideOutLex Displays Beauty of Diversity in Community Portraits

students from guerrilla art class with InsideOutLex installation on Carson's wall
UK art students recently installed portraits of various Lexington's citizens as a demonstration of the community's diversity as part of InsideOutLex.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2019) University of Kentucky students aim to represent the beauty of the diversity in Lexington with community portraits installed on the east wall of Carson’s Food & Drink.

As part of their class curriculum, students in Lee Ann Paynter’s Guerrilla Art, Interventions and Social Engagement class offered by UK's School of Art and Visual Studies (SAVS) gathered community portraits in the fall of 2018 and 2019 for InsideOutLex.

The intention of installing the large-scale community portraits and participating in this public art project is to show the magnificence of the diversity in Lexington and promote a sense of unity in the Bluegrass. The class completed the first phase of installation for the project last week at Carson’s, located at 362 E. Main St. in downtown Lexington.

InsideOutLex is an independently organized Inside Out Project Group Action. The brainchild of French street artist JR, winner of the 2011 TED Prize, Inside Out is the largest socially engaged art project in the world. This large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work has been installed in 143 countries. 

Participants in the project are challenged to use black and white photographic portraits to discover, reveal and share the untold stories and images of people around the world. All exhibitions are documented, archived and made available online at

For more information about UK’s Guerrilla Art, Interventions and Social Engagement class, contact Lee Ann Paynter, UK SAVS lecturer in digital media foundations and photography, at

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, part of the College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studiesart educationcuratorial studies and digital media design.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.