New Wall Art in Lexington, Kentucky – PRHBTN and LexArts




Sumoflam at the new Lincoln Mural (not quite finished) on Veteran's Day 2013
Sumoflam at the new Lincoln Mural (not quite finished) on Veteran’s Day 2013

Sometimes there can be a treasure trove in your own backyard.  In the past few months Lexington, Kentucky has been the recipient of some new and amazing wall art…all fairly large projects, including an amazing HUGE piece on the back of the Kentucky Theatre.  And there will be more on the way — all part of the PRHBTN Project in Lexington. According to it’s Website, “PRHBTN is an annual celebration of art forms that have been criminalized, marginalized, and under-appreciated in the mainstream, featuring an exhibition of these works in a space that complements the raw, powerful nature of the message and the artistry of each piece.”

Lily and the Silly Monkeys by Herakut - Downtown Lexington
Lily and the Silly Monkeys by Herakut – Downtown Lexington

In September 2012 German artists Jasmin Siddiqui and Falk Lehman (jointly known as HERAKUT) came to Lexington on commission to fill their canvas (an entire building) with their unique form of urban art.  This piece, known as “Lily and the Silly Monkeys” took only two days to complete.

Closeup of Lily by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington
Closeup of Lily by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington
Closeup of the Little Monkeys by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington
Closeup of the Little Monkeys by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington

A few days later they completed another massive painting on the side of another building.  Not sure what this is titled, so I will call it “Where Dreams Come From.”

Where Dreams Come From by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington, KY
Where Dreams Come From by HERAKUT in Downtown Lexington, KY

For the 2013 version of PRHBTN another world reknowned artist, Eduardo Kobra from Brazil has come in and is currently working on a massive mural of Abraham Lincoln, depicting the iconic Lincoln Memorial in a mesmerizingly colorful depiction that just wows the senses!!

Partial of Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra as seen on November 7 in downtown Lexington
Partial of Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra as seen on November 7 in downtown Lexington

I first saw this partial work above when I was going through downtown last week.  The colors were amazing.  So, I drove by again today to see the progress….

Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Lincoln by Eduardo Kobra, part of the 2013 PRHBTN Festival in Lexington, Kentucky
Completed Painting on November 15, 2013
Completed Painting on November 15, 2013
Detail of Lincoln's Head on the Eduardo Kobra painting in Lexington
Detail of Lincoln’s Head on the Eduardo Kobra painting in Lexington

This piece of art is 60 feet tall and has been contracted to be on this building for at least the next ten years.  This piece was completed on November 12, 2013.

A Tradition of Music from North Limestone
“A Tradition of Music from North Limestone” by Michael Burrell

Another group in Lexington, the LexArts Mural Project has also had a few murals added, including the one on the side of Al’s Bar in Lexington entitled “A Tradition of Music from North Limestone” by Lexington artist Michael Burrell.  Michael also painted “In the Market for Music” for the Southland Farmer’s Market painting shown below:

In the Market for Music by Michael Burrell
A portion of “In the Market for Music” on Lexington’s Southland Drive by Michael Burrell

Another unique downtown mural is “Mind Body Soul” which can be seen along the High Street side of the YMCA building. This was created by Kansas City artist Waseem Touma, who was commissioned to provide something representing the YMCA in Oct. 2008.

"Mind, Body, Soul" by Wasseem Touma
“Mind, Body, Soul” by Wasseem Touma

There are a couple more great murals to be seen on Short Street.  One is fully of whimsy and fun and was the winning entry of the Thomas and King Competition in Lexington in 2005.  Artist Britt Spencer was only 21 at the time he painted this creation.

Lexington fun painted by Britt Spencer in 2005
Lexington fun painted by Britt Spencer in 2005
Detail of Britt Spencer mural
Detail of Britt Spencer mural
Detail of Britt Spencer mural in Lexington
Detail of Britt Spencer mural in Lexington

Just a couple of blocks away is a newer mural on the side of the Hurst Office Supplies building.  This horse theme work, across the street from Thoroughbred Park, was painted by Paducah, Kentucky artist Char Downs.  This mural is about 100 feet in length and fourteen feet tall and was completed in 2011 as part of the LexArts Mural Project.

Char Downs mural on Hurst Office Building in downtown Lexington
Char Downs mural on Hurst Office Building in downtown Lexington
Detail of Char Downs mural
Detail of Char Downs mural

Another artist was commissioned to paint a set of murals at the Whittaker Bank ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends baseball team. Portland artist Esteban Camacho Steffensen painted four different pieces that reflect the history of Lexington baseball as well as the depiction of Lexington culture.

Whittaker Bank Ballpark murals by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Whittaker Bank Ballpark murals by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Legends by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Legends by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Horse Racing mural at Whittaker Bank Ballpark by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Horse Racing mural at Whittaker Bank Ballpark by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Tribute to Kentucky Bourbon by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Tribute to Kentucky Bourbon by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Horse Country by Esteban Camacho Steffensen
Lexington Horse Country by Esteban Camacho Steffensen

Another recent addition as part of the LexArts program was the large mural on the side of East End market on 3rd Street and Race.  Entitled “Know Your History. Then Make History,” this mural was designed to tell the story of the neighborhood it was painted in, even down to featuring some of the neighborhood children on portraits in the mural and inviting them to write their names and aspirations on the blades of grass. The artist, Sundiata Rashid, who actually resides in the East End neighborhood, tried to tie the past and present together while also including significant buildings. Half of the mural is black and white…depicting the past…and the other half is in color and represents the future.

"Know Your History. Then Make History." Mural on Lexington East End by Sundiata Rashid
Know Your History. Then Make History.” Mural on Lexington East End by Sundiata Rashid
Another view of the Rashid Mural on 3rd St.
Another view of the Rashid Mural on 3rd St.
Color side of mural on 3rd St.
Color side of mural on 3rd St.

Around the town there are a few more murals and more are in the planning stages.  This local art always inspires me.  I hope that those that visit Lexington will take time to enjoy these great pieces of art!!

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Vintage Neon Everywhere

Old Mojo Gas Sign - Rock Springs, Wyoming
Old Mojo Gas Sign – Rock Springs, Wyoming

Everywhere I go I see old neon.  These signs remind me of the my youthful days in the 1960s and 70s when we traveled.  Alas, for many, the only signs they see are the same unoriginal fast food, gas station and motel chain signs all over the place.  But, in the by gone days there were few McDonald’s and Motel 6 spots.  Instead, there were the little cozy motels with the old metal chairs in the front and the unique neon signs.  There were the local burger joints with their big shiny signs.  And there were the drive in movie theaters and the downtown theatres with their unique names.  Here is a trip down memory lane with neon I have captured along the less beaten paths and just a few comments, when appropriate.

OLD MOTELS

Chinook Hotel - Chinook, Montana
Chinook Hotel – Chinook, Montana

Of all of the unique neon signs, perhaps the hotel and motel signs are the most fun and bring back the fondest memories.  My first ever motel stay was in some non-descript motel in Amarillo, Texas in 1968.  At the time I was only 12.  It was exciting to sleep in a motel bed, see the paper covered drinking glasses, taste the strange tasting water, sit on the metal rockers on the front porch.  We watched the news and stock reports on the local television and ate pancakes at a local cafe before heading to our new home in Richardson, Texas (we were moving from Albuquerque, so yes, we were on Route 66 back then).

Motel Galata on US Hwy 2 - The Hi-Line - in Galata, Montana
Motel Galata on US Hwy 2 – The Hi-Line – in Galata, Montana
Thunderbird Inn in Savannah, Georgia
Thunderbird Inn in Savannah, Georgia
El Kapp Motel in Raton, NM
El Kapp Motel in Raton, NM
Covered Wagon Motel in Lusk, Wyoming
Covered Wagon Motel in Lusk, Wyoming
Kool Breeze Motel in Irving, Texas
Kool Breeze Motel in Irving, Texas
Cave Land Motel - Cave City, Kentucky
Cave Land Motel – Cave City, Kentucky
Log Cabin Motel - Ashton, Idaho
Log Cabin Motel – Ashton, Idaho
Dude Motel - West Yellowstone, Montana
Dude Motel – West Yellowstone, Montana
D-K Motel - Arco, Idaho
D-K Motel – Arco, Idaho
Wagon Wheel Motel - Kadoka, South Dakota
Wagon Wheel Motel – Kadoka, South Dakota
4 Winds Motel - Jackson Hole, Wyoming
4 Winds Motel – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Arena Motel in Shelby, Montana  The sign is all that remains
Arena Motel in Shelby, Montana The sign is all that remains
Generic Motel Sign - Shelby, Montana
Generic Motel Sign – Shelby, Montana
Old Stanley Cour-Tel Sign (from Missouri) now at Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, Illinois
Old Stanley Cour-Tel Sign (from Missouri) now at Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, Illinois
Lays Motor Lodge sign in Kingdom City, Missouri.  Motel building is dilapidated, but the sign remains
Lays Motor Lodge sign in Kingdom City, Missouri. Motel building is dilapidated, but the sign remains
Motel in Havre, Montana
Motel in Havre, Montana
Palace Hotel - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Palace Hotel – Eureka Springs, Arkansas
Antler Motel - Kemmerer, Wyoming
Antler Motel – Kemmerer, Wyoming
Texan Motel - Raton, New Mexico
Texan Motel – Raton, New Mexico

And to round off the trip, how about one of the more famed ones….

Sleep in a Wigwam - Wigwam Motel in Cave City, Kentucky
Sleep in a Wigwam – Wigwam Village Motel in Cave City, Kentucky

CAFES AND RESTAURANTS

Goody Goody - St. Louis, Missouri
Goody Goody Diner – St. Louis, Missouri

After a nice evening a a comfy motel, what is better than starting the day off with a great breakfast at a diner, a pancake house or a local cafe. The servings are always big, the mom and pop service is better than any fast food joint.  Of course, while on the road you can also stop for lunch and even a big dinner, in some cases even more than you can manage if you are willing to take the chance (think Amarillo, Texas!!)

Donut Whole - Wichita, Kansas
Donut Whole – Wichita, Kansas They have a giant rooster on the roof there too!
Voodoo Doughnut - Portland, Oregon
Voodoo Doughnut – Portland, Oregon
Royal Donut - Danville, Illinois
Royal Donut – Danville, Illinois
Crystal Cafe - Raton, NM
Crystal Cafe – Raton, NM
Golden Burro Cafe - Leadville, CO
Golden Burro Cafe – Leadville, CO
Presti's Bakery - Cleveland, OH
Presti’s Bakery – Cleveland, OH
Lil' Cafe - Commerce, Oklahoma
Lil’ Cafe – Commerce, Oklahoma
Irma Restaurant and Grill - Cody, Wyoming
Irma Restaurant and Grill – Cody, Wyoming
Pickle's Place - Arco, Idaho
Pickle’s Place – Arco, Idaho
Sport Bowl Cafe - Tripp, South Dakota
Sport Bowl Cafe – Tripp, South Dakota

How about some burgers for lunch?

Wimpy's Hamburgers - Dallas, Texas - I'll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today....
Wimpy’s Hamburgers – Dallas, Texas – I’ll gladly pay you Thursday for a hamburger today….
Paul's Hamburgers - Kansas City, Kansas
Paul’s Hamburgers – Kansas City, Kansas
Waylan's Hamburgers - Home of the Ku-Ku - Commerce, Oklahoma
Waylan’s Hamburgers – Home of the Ku-Ku – Miami, Oklahoma
Scotty's Hamburgers - Idaho Falls, Idaho
Scotty’s Hamburgers – Idaho Falls, Idaho
Hutch's on the Beach - Hamilton, Ontario
Hutch’s on the Beach – Hamilton, Ontario
Frostop Root Beer - Ashton, Idaho
Frostop Root Beer – Ashton, Idaho
Schroeder's Drive-In - Danville, Illinois
Schroeder’s Drive-In – Danville, Illinois

Perhaps you want to try an ORIGINAL Cozy Dog….a Route 66 Classic indeed.  This one deserves two photos

Cozy Drive-In - Home of the Cozy Dog - Springfield, Illinois
Cozy Drive-In – Home of the Cozy Dog – Springfield, Illinois
Cozy Drive-In - Springfield, Illinois  The sign says it all
Cozy Drive-In – Springfield, Illinois The sign says it all

Don’t want a burger or a corn dog?  How about a Maid-Rite Sandwich?

Maid-Rite Sandwiches - Lexington, Missouri
Maid-Rite Sandwiches – Lexington, Missouri

Or perhaps some great authentic Bar-B-Q?

Bryant's Barbecue - Kansas City, Missouri
Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue – Kansas City, Missouri

And a little Ice Cream for an afternoon treat….

Zesto - near the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska
Zesto – near the zoo in Omaha, Nebraska
Another Zesto in downtown Omaha, Nebraska
Another Zesto in downtown Omaha, Nebraska
Jimmy's Ice Cream - Waldo, Arkansas
Jimmy’s Ice Cream – Stamps, Arkansas

Okay.  So this next one is not neon.  But it is certainly Vintage.  And who can resist stopping for an ice cream at a place that LOOKS like an Ice Cream?

M & M's Twistee Treat - E. Peoria, Illinois
M & M’s Twistee Treat – E. Peoria, Illinois

There are lots of places that you can get dinner…many of the old neon places are a combo bar/grill or bar/restaurant.   And many have unique signs.  Personally, I don’t drink alcohol, but I have certainly enjoyed a few good meals at some of these kinds of places.

Manhattan Bar - Leadville, Colorado
Manhattan Bar – Leadville, Colorado
Mint Bar and Lounge - Chinook, Montana
Mint Bar and Lounge – Chinook, Montana
Acoma Restaurant and Lounge - Butte, Montana
Acoma Restaurant and Lounge – Butte, Montana
Atomic City Bar - Atomic City, Idaho - no longer in business, but the sign is a classic!
Atomic City Bar – Atomic City, Idaho – no longer in business, but the sign is a classic!
Elk Bar and Good Food - Chinook, Montana
Elk Bar and Good Food – Chinook, Montana
Steaks - what more needs to be said? - near Turkey Ridge, South Dakota
Steaks – what more needs to be said? – near Turkey Ridge, South Dakota
Riscky's Steakhouse - Fort Worth, Texas
Riscky’s Steakhouse – Fort Worth, Texas
Lariat Saloon - Buena Vista, Colorado
Lariat Saloon – Buena Vista, Colorado

And let’s not forget two of the most iconic vintage neon places for travelers….

Cowboy Bar - Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Million Dollar Cowboy Bar – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Big Texan Steak House - home of the FREE 72 OZ Steak (if you can eat it all) - Amarillo, Texas
Big Texan Steak Ranch – home of the FREE 72 OZ Steak (if you can eat it all) – Amarillo, Texas

Maybe you prefer something a bit more ethnic in the evening….

Joe Mama's Italian - Time for Fine Eats - Pittsburgh, Pennsylania
Joe Mama’s Italian – Time for Fine Eats – Pittsburgh, Pennsylania
El Fenix Restaurant - Best Tex-Mex in Texas - downtown Dallas, Texas
El Fenix Restaurant – Best Tex-Mex in Texas – downtown Dallas, Texas
Hung Far Low - Famous Chop Suey and Famous name - Portland, Oregon
Hung Far Low – Famous Chop Suey and Famous name – Portland, Oregon

Or perhaps just a late night Philly Cheese Steak?  How about two choices and they are just across the street from each other in the triangle….(I actually tried one at each place on the same evening – add the whiz!)

Geno's Cheese Steaks - Philadelphia, PA
Geno’s Cheese Steaks – Philadelphia, PA
Pat's King of Steaks - Philadelphia, PA
Pat’s King of Steaks – Philadelphia, PA

Movie Theaters, Drive-In Theaters and Music Halls

Teton Drive-In - Rexburg, Idaho
Teton Drive-In – Rexburg, Idaho

Perhaps you have had a long day on the road and need a break from motel room TV.  A visit to an old drive in theater with some popcorn and thus fuzzy little speakers hanging in your window will do ya.

Too cold outside?  Then there are some classic old movie theaters around that show some cool movies or maybe even will have a live band playing in them. Many of the old theaters are multi-purpose nowadays, but their old neon signs still draw you in and bring back the memories of 1960s childhood.

Following are a few classic looks with neon I have seen over the years as I travel the back roads of America.

 

Plaza Theatre - Glasgow, Kentucky
Plaza Theatre – Glasgow, Kentucky
Lund Theatre - Viborg, South Dakota
Lund Theatre – Viborg, South Dakota
Liberty Theatre - Vandalia, Illinois
Liberty Theatre – Vandalia, Illinois
Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
The Blue Room - Kansas City, Missouri
The Blue Room – Kansas City, Missouri
Pix Theatre - Winner, South Dakota
Pix Theatre – Winner, South Dakota
Westside Theatre - Newman, California
West Side Theatre – Newman, California
Kentucky Theatre - Lexington, Kentucky
Kentucky Theatre – Lexington, Kentucky
Fox Theatre - Detroit, Michigan
Fox Theatre – Detroit, Michigan
Skyline Theatre - Rudyard, Montana
Hi-Line Theatre – Rudyard, Montana
El Raton Theatre - Raton, NM
El Raton Theatre – Raton, NM
Fischer Theatre - Danville, Illinois
Fischer Theatre – Danville, Illinois
Orpheum Theatre - Wichita, Kansas
Orpheum Theatre – Wichita, Kansas
Leeds Theatre - Winchester, Kentucky
Leeds Theatre – Winchester, Kentucky
Bing Crosby Theatre - Spokane, Washington
Bing Crosby Theatre – Spokane, Washington

VARIOUS AND SUNDRY OTHER PLACES

Pelo's Sundries - LeClaire, Iowa (Home of the American Pickers!)
Pelo’s Sundries – LeClaire, Iowa (Home of the American Pickers!)

Sure, I meant it when I included “Sundry” in this section.  That term seems old fashioned now, but the old five-and-dime shops had “sundry” items.  There were also the old drug stores that sold magazines, had fountains in the shop and they sold “sundries.”

I also include the “various” in here since there are a few odds and ends neon signs that I  want to include in this section.

The famous Public Market sign in Seattle, Washington
The famous Pike Place Public Market sign in Seattle, Washington
Pilgrim Cleaners in Houston, Texas.  They also do shoe repairs
Pilgrim Cleaners in Houston, Texas. They also do shoe repairs
Arco City Hall - Arco, Idaho - First City in the world to be lit by Atomic Power
Arco City Hall – Arco, Idaho – First City in the world to be lit by Atomic Power
Boring Rexall Drugs - Warsaw, Missouri
Boring Rexall Drugs – Warsaw, Missouri
The Old Drugs Store - Cumberland Gap, Tennessee
The Old Drugs Store – Cumberland Gap, Tennessee

Now, wasn’t that just a yummy adventure through the past?

Yummy House - Idaho Falls, Idaho
Yummy House – Idaho Falls, Idaho

Some roadside assistance provided by friends at……

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