LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When the temperatures drop into the 30s it hard to think about spring, but an announcement from Churchill Downs always makes it easier. 

What You Need To Know

  • Churchill Downs unveils art for Derby and Oaks

  • The artist behind the works is Aimee Griffith

  • Giffith is a Kentucky native

  • The paintings feature works done in watercolor

Churchill Downs released the 2022 "Official Art of the Kentucky Derby" Monday. This year's artwork is from Kentucky artist Aimee Griffith.

The official Derby artwork from artist Aimee Griffith (Churchill Downs)

Born and raised in Bardstown, Griffith now calls Lexington home. Her artwork features watercolor. She believes it adds luminosity and gradients.

In a statement from Churchill Downs Griffith said, “The magic is in the mixing and settling of the paint as it dries.”

Her painting for the Kentucky Derby is meant to display the energy, motion and excitement of the race. The Oaks paining focuses not on the race but instead the fashion and pageantry of the paddock before the race. 

The official Oaks artwork by artist Aimee Griffith (Churchill Downs)

“This commission challenged me to explore and experiment with my perspective of equestrian art like I’ve not done before,” said Griffith, who works out of a home studio in Lexington.

She added, “Before I began, I visited Cross Gate Gallery in Lexington and left inspired to try something new. Pushing brighter colors, more contrast and high energy in my work has helped me evolve as an artist. While I am primarily self-taught, I study and am inspired by artists such as Leroy Nieman, Peter Williams, Wayne Thiebaud and local artists Jim Cantrell and Tyler Robertson.” 

Griffith's creations will be featured on all 2022 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks racing programs and merchandise. Items will be sold at various stores but fans can also find themat the Kentucky Derby Museum and the online Kentucky Derby Store.