Home » Churchill Downs unveils ‘Official Art of the Kentucky Derby’

Churchill Downs unveils ‘Official Art of the Kentucky Derby’

Watercolors by state artist Jim Cantrell

ART-2017-Kentucky-Derby.c46b1f38b7bc78cffe3b77277e1fcab7LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2016) — Churchill Downs this week released the 2017 “Official Art of the Kentucky Derby” by award-winning American and Kentucky painter Jim Cantrell.

Cantrell is the first Kentucky artist to create the Derby’s officially licensed artwork since the tradition began in 1997.

Cantrell created watercolor paintings that capture the excitement and color of the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby.

Cantrell’s “Official Art of the Kentucky Derby” will be featured on the 2017 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks posters, tickets and souvenir racing programs. The posters and a variety of merchandise including ornaments, t-shirts, bags, post cards and invitations are available now at select retail outlets, including the Kentucky Derby Museum.

Cantrell, who is known for his ability to paint the figure, was Berea College’s first Potter-In-Residence in 1970. Since then the former high school art teacher and Associate Professor of Art in Nebraska has enjoyed a successful career as an independent studio artist. His paintings are in the permanent collections of 14 art museums in the U.S., including Kentucky’s Speed Museum and Owensboro Museum of Fine Art.

His work is in numerous private collections around the world and has been exhibited in the U.S. Embassy in Riga, Latvia as part of the Art in Embassies program. Cantrell is the recipient of two Al Smith Fellowships from the Kentucky Arts Council and one from the Southern Arts Federation. He has been awarded Alumni of the Year for Creative Achievement from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he received his BFA in Fine Art Education and from the University of Northern Colorado where he received his Masters of Art Degree.