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The Governor’s Mansion is well known for its Derby breakfasts, but the Kentucky Arts Council is installing an annual exhibit at the Capitol Rotunda that has also become an integral part of the Commonwealth’s celebration of one of the biggest sports events in the world, the Kentucky Derby.

Lexington artist Helene Steene is a new member of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Architectural Artist Directory,  and is one of the participating artists. She says, “It’s the first time for me, a new audience. They asked for Kentucky spring type works. The theme for the exhibit is ‘Spring in Kentucky.’ Miine is Apple Blossom. I am so ready for some great Kentucky spring!” Steene was born in Sweden and moved to the United States in 1976. Her mixed media work is mostly non-objective or abstract, on wood panels or on collaged paper.  Lexington art collectors are familiar with her large commissioned pieces, like the one at the Markey Cancer Center (“Shimmer at the Edge,”) or her work around town, like her painting on the Legacy Trail (mile marker 7). Last Fall, she exhibited a series of large mixed media pieces, “Aegean Echoes,” at Lexington’s Headley-Whitney Museum.

The arts council coordinates the Governor’s Derby Exhibit each year on behalf of the Governor and First Lady as part of the Governor’s Downtown Derby Celebration on Derby Day in Frankfort. Thousands of people from across Kentucky converge on downtown Frankfort to take part in the day’s activities.

The Governor’s Derby Exhibit has become an introduction to working with the arts council for many of the state’s artists. Any Kentucky artist 18 years old or older can apply for consideration to have work in the exhibit. The exhibit is juried by arts professionals, like other KAC arts shows and programs.

Many past participants have found themselves applying to be included in arts council programs after first having juried into this exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display for the public March 29 through May 5 in the Capitol Rotunda, 700 Capitol Avenue in Frankfort. The building is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. However, it will also be open on Derby Day for those who visit during the celebration.

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