Lexington’s PRHBTN Festival Celebrates Street Art
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Several properties in and around downtown Lexington have turned from buildings into works of art.
What would you like to know
- Murals have been added to five buildings in and around downtown Lexington
- 10th Annual PRHBTN Festival Celebrates Street Art
- Two local artists are involved in this year’s projects
- Since the start of PRHBTN, 27 artists from 18 countries have painted 29 murals
Artists from around the world painted murals on the side of five buildings as part of the 10th PRHBTN Street arts festival. PRHBTN, a short form of the word ban, was co-founded by husband and wife team John and Jessica Winters and is a partnership with the Lexington Arts League, LexArts and the Kentucky Arts Council. John describes the festival as an “annual celebration of art forms that have been criminalized, marginalized and underestimated by the general public, with public murals alongside an exhibition of street art in a space that complements the raw and powerful nature of message and art. of each room.
“The name was born because we felt that street artists and graffiti artists, people of that ilk, were sort of banned from appearing in standard galleries and being part of the artistic establishment,” John said. “It would be a sort of ban. We’re also in Kentucky, and since it’s bourbon country, we thought people would find the name a little funny.
The shortened version came after John and Jessica decided the word was too long and decided to omit the vowels to make it more concise and easier to put on flyers and stickers.
Since the start of PRHBTN, 27 artists from 18 countries have painted 29 murals in and around downtown Lexington. This year’s festival was a homecoming for the artist Alexandra pangburn. The Lexington native and University of Kentucky graduate moved to Denver, Colorado in 2017, and it was there that she began large-scale artwork and murals. She painted a mural at 417 Jefferson St. for the festival in 2019. The festival was on hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Pangburn returned this year to add art on the Lowell’s North side. Lime at 111 Mechanic St. The three-day project is a team effort with artist Justin Suarez of Rochester, New York, from Kingdom of aerosols.
“This mural pays homage to the Kentucky cattle industry,” said Pangburn. “Everyone knows horses and bourbon, but Kentucky’s beef industry is huge as well. I added the flowers because I have a passion for flora and fauna and I try to incorporate this into several of my murals.
Suarez said he and Pangburn spent an entire day finishing the two large flowers in the mural. One of the bulls on the mural has an ear tag with the number 859, a nod to the area code for the hometown of Pangburn.
Another local artist, Joe king, painted a 40-foot-wide mural on the side of a warehouse at the intersection of 4th and Jefferson streets near the University of Transylvania. Called The Pythia in Agate, King said he had wanted to paint something for PRHBTN for some time and was happy to have the opportunity for this year’s festival.
“This design was so fun and stimulating that it’s hard for me to get out of it,” King said. “If I could work on this painting for the rest of the year, I would happily do so. Not because I think she needs more work, but because the experience has been so great. The weather was wonderful and the community members who gave me so much encouragement and gratitude made the week unforgettable.
A third mural added this year is by the artist Key detail and sits on Bruce Street and serves as the backdrop to a playground adjacent to Harrison Elementary School. The Minsk, Belarus native and resident of New York City has seen his work featured in several magazines, and books and paintings are included in many private art collections in the United States and Europe.
The fourth mural at 472 Southland Drive is from Whiskey Patch, which has clients such as Absolut Vodka, Mellow Mushroom and Warner Brothers motion pictures.
A fifth mural was made by a native of New York and a resident of Baltimore Gaia and is located at 161 N. Limestone St. in Lexington. Gaia has produced works on six inhabited continents.