‘Ode to the East End’ unveiled at Lexington’s The MET

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) The East End of Lexington is now home to the first of many new art installations created to honor the community and its historical and cultural significance to the city of Lexington.

A poem entitled “Ode to the East End”, written by Kentucky’s first African-American poet laureate, Frank X Walker, is now on permanent display on a 25-foot tall canvas atop the nearly-completed development at the corner of Third Street and Midland Avenue, known as The MET.

This past spring, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded an Our Town grant to Art Inc. Kentucky, to create art projects that would showcase local artists while also tying their work back to the community.

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Thanks to the NEA, The MET, which is scheduled to open in the last quarter of 2020, will feature a series of newly-commissioned art installations throughout the property.

The pieces are being created by artists from the East End or with significant ties to the East End, and each piece will recognize and pay tribute to the community.

“Lexington’s historic East End community is a very special place filled with very special people and a very special and unique history and culture. Thanks to the NEA, Community Ventures and its Board, the advisory board of Art Inc Kentucky, the participating artists, our community partners and a group of very committed and passionate East End neighborhood residents and business owners,  we hope to spotlight and memorialize, via the arts, some of the historic and significant places, people and events that make East End Lexington so iconic,” says Mark Johnson, president of Art Inc. Kentucky.

As part of The MET development, Community Ventures sought input from neighborhood residents about the project.

From that feedback, Community Ventures and Art Inc. helped to create a committee of residents to commission a series of pieces to honor the East End.

The committee consists of Heather Lyons, Director of Arts & Cultural Affairs in the Mayor’s office; Whit Whitaker; Executive Director of the Lyric Theater; Dr. Yvonne Giles, local historian; Seth Tusca, local artist; Marjorie Guyon, local artist; Frank X Walker, author, artist, and Kentucky Poet Laureate; and Mark Johnson, President of Art Inc. Kentucky.

The committee has already identified additional artists and commissioned works from them for the project.  Those pieces will be unveiled over the next few months.

The MET is a mixed-use commercial and residential development project with construction expected to be completed this fall.  The MET will include art studios for lease through Art Inc. Kentucky along with a retail art gallery, which will give visitors a chance to view and purchase the work of Kentucky artists.