Lexington and the surrounding region have rich assets in their diverse creative community. There are venues and programs for every variety of artist, participant, spectator, aficionado, enthusiast or casual fan—and more planned.
The Lexington Opera House and its classic tri-level seating, circa 1886, is in prime condition with modern infrastructure for Broadway productions, music, comedians and Lexington Ballet Co. performances. So is 47-year-old Rupp Arena; its updated 20,000-seat bowl hosts top touring performers.
The Lexington Philharmonic holds at least five major performances plus its popular themed Picnic With The Pops outdoors on the grounds of Keeneland. A half dozen community theater companies offer everything from the classics to the avant garde. The University of Kentucky and Transylvania University present theater seasons, as does the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The Singletary Center for the Performing Arts at UK hosts the UK Symphony Orchestra and other College of Fine Arts presentations such as UK Opera Theatre. The Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center is home to the Lexington Chamber Music Festival, which commissions and presents original compositions. The EKU Center for the Arts in Richmond always has a variety of live concerts and performances.
In Danville, The Great American Brass Band Festival has been delighting guests every June since 1990 with a wide variety of brass bands, a hot-air balloon race and other activities. Also in Danville is the Norton Center for the Arts at Centre College, which has its own season of concerts and shows.
The Lexington Art League, now in its seventh decade, holds regular themed visual art shows, and Friday night Gallery Hops take place in Lexington every spring through fall as part of LexArts.
Arts Place is home also to programs such as “Red Barn Radio,” now in its 21st season. Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson are among the local “roots music, Southern style” artists who rose from live “Red Barn” performances to national prominence. The internationally syndicated “Woodsongs” takes place on Monday nights at the Lyric Theatre & Cultural Arts Center and is carried by 500 radio stations and U.S. public television.
The Lexington Children’s Theatre is in its 85th year of presenting shows and workshops, and Bluegrass Youth Ballet is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
The region also includes top visual art museums, such as the UK Museum of Art at the Singletary Center and the 21c Museum Hotel Lexington, which exhibits the work of contemporary artists.