1999 Richmond Road
Suite 200
Lexington, Kentucky 40502
(859) 514-2102

Discovering Lexington: A Journey from Street Art to Stage

Lexington may be known as the world’s horse capital, but some might not know that it’s a haven for arts and culture.

And while everybody loves Big Lex, that’s not all the city has in store for art lovers (iconic though Edward Troye’s oil painting, in original or bright blue form, maybe.) If you’re curious about the Lexington, KY, art scene, here’s a primer on what you can find in the metropolitan heart of the Bluegrass.

Museums and Galleries

…are plentiful here. Lexington is home to several museums, which feature a rotating collection of unique exhibits as well as quintessential standbys. The University of Kentucky Art Museum is a great place to start, with free admission for all visitors (and free tours!) The 21c Museum, attached to the accompanying hotel and restaurant, is another must-see; the world of both artists, both local and international, can be seen in a spacious multi-floor gallery. There’s also the LexArts gallery and frequent exhibits of local artists’ offerings at community focal points like the Lexington Public Library’s Central location downtown. For more information on art galleries in the greater Lexington area, check out this helpful list by VisitLex.

On the Street

…you’ll see Lexington’s commitment to local art right away. For starters, there’s the plethora of brightly-painted horses (and some very adorable foals) in statue form displayed prominently in and around downtown, courtesy of the Horse Mania public exhibit. Older fountain statues can also be found in places like Gratz Park– a beautiful area for historic architecture from the Carnegie Center to Transylvania University’s Old Morrison– and outside the Old Fayette County Courthouse.

Another key element of public art around town is the many murals located throughout the city, particularly in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods. You can find the likes of Abraham Lincoln, activist Anita Franklin, and musicians John Prine Louis Armstrong gracing the buildings of many prominent locations. Or, you can get a good look at the enormous I Am MO by French street artist MTO in the Distillery District before treating yourself to some Goodfellas pizza or Crank & Boom ice cream (or both, because why choose?)

Local Music

…isn’t hard to find, what with all of the live music venues throughout the city like the Burl and Manchester Music Hall and concert series like Thursday Night Live and Southland Jamboree. You’re likely to catch a show if you pay a weekend visit to girls girls girls Burritos on South Limestone, for instance, or just a little further down the street, at Tin Roof. Each year the Lexington Music Awards are held at the iconic Lyric Theatre in Lexington’s historic East End– another great location for frequent local performances and community art events.

Lexington’s local venues have held space for all sorts of emerging artists, helping the flourishing careers of Kentucky favorites like Tyler Childers, Sturgill Simpson, and Chris Stapleton over the years and providing a stage for independent artists nationwide.

In the heart of the Bluegrass State, Lexington emerges as an equestrian hub and a vibrant cradle of arts, music, and cultural dynamism. This city’s rich tapestry showcases that there’s so much more to Kentucky than initially meets the eye. For those looking to delve even deeper into the state’s captivating history, don’t miss our piece on Kentucky’s Hidden Gems: 5 Intriguing Historical Facts. But if you’re eager to experience the outdoor charm of Lexington firsthand, our guide on 5 Fun Outdoor Activities in Lexington, KY, is a must-read. Expand your knowledge and appreciation for a state bursting with tales, treasures, and thrilling adventures waiting to be discovered.

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