LEXINGTON, Ky. — As part of LexArts 50th anniversary celebration, Horse Mania has returned to Lexington for a third installment. 

What You Need To Know

  • Local artists and students paint and decorate fiberglass thoroughbreds

  • Event commemorates 50th anniversary of LexArts

  • Maker's Mark Bourbon and Keeneland are partners in project

  • Horses will be displayed throughout Lexington until Breeders' Cup in November

tudents and professionals from around the Commonwealth decorated nearly 90 fiberglass horses measuring six-by-eight feet since late January. 

Students at Northern Elementary School in Lexington have a thoroughbred on display at Horse Mania in Lexington. (Spectrum News 1/Brandon Roberts)

Each horse weighs between 115 and 140 pounds and artists submitted designs for painting and embellishing the horses for this major public art project.

Local artist Natacha Feola-Quintanilla has two horses in the exhibit, one of which she said took her 500 hours to complete.

“I just started on one yesterday and the other I’m at 500-plus hours because of the detail,” she said. “It takes a long time to paint realistic-looking wood and realistic-looking metal.”

(Spectrum News 1/Brandon Roberts)

The horses were on display from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, June 17, and Saturday, June 18, on the lawn at Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate, in Lexington. After Saturday, the horses will be placed throughout the city until the fall when the Breeder’s Cup returns to Keeneland.

This year, the annual release of a commemorative Maker’s Mark Bourbon bottle supports Horse Mania in partnership with Keeneland. 

“No other public art initiative in our city’s history has captured the hearts and imaginations of Lexingtonians and visitors like Horse Mania,” said Ame Sweetall, LexArts president and CEO, in a news release. “Public art is a hallmark of all great American cities and LexArts is thrilled to have the support of two iconic Kentucky brands, Keeneland and Maker’s Mark, in bringing Horse Mania to the streets of Lexington once again.” 

Maker’s Mark and Keeneland have collaborated on a commemorative bottle release every year since 1997, raising millions of dollars for a variety of worthy causes throughout Central Kentucky. 

The original renderings used to select the artists who created this year’s Horse Mania horses will be on exhibit in Lexington’s Central Library rotunda through July 10.