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.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.