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New artwork in area of former slave auction block

New artwork promotes love
Posted at 6:23 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 18:23:07-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A team of local artists and community leaders are working to re-imagine a section of downtown known as Cheapside, which used to be the site of a slave auction block.

Lexington artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova designed the latest piece of artwork put up in downtown Lexington. The 23-foot-wide piece is part of the "Unlearn Fear and Hate" art series, which was inspired by the poem "Love Letter to the World" written by Frank X Walker.

Gohde told LEX 18's Kylen Mills that the most recent art piece has an incredibly meaningful location in Cheapside. More than a year ago, after much debate, two Confederate statues were moved from outside the old courthouse at Cheapside, which was once the site of the Cheapside Slave Auction Block.

"Ultimately what we really hoped for was a realization that first of all fear and hatred is learned, so if it is learned it can be unlearned," said Gohde. "It's an area that's kind of a footprint of a historical period in the city that I think people did their best to hide."

Now Gohde says that it is time for Lexington to move forward and create a new image for Cheapside, as well as a chance for growth.

"By recognizing each other's humanity, we can get to a place where maybe we can get along and have conversations versus the polarized conversations that push people farther apart," Gohde said.

"I think it's very interesting shape and design and the message is one that absolutely needs to be promoted," said Lexington resident Alice Nelson.

LexArts and Prometheus Bronze Foundry and Custom Metals helped make the sculpture possible. It was mostly paid for by a grant and private donors.