It’s that time of year again when the temperature goes up and down like a seismograph needle. You wonder if it’s ever going to stop raining and if your hair will ever return to its non-frizz form. Most people call it spring — here we call it Derby.
Artists and galleries hear the sounds of distant hoofs, too, resulting in all things Derby displayed in abundance. Equine art tops the list, of course, in all its variety.
Jaime Corum is one of the state’s best traditional horse portrait painters. You can see her exhibition “The Fine Equine” at Kentucky Backroads (602 S. Third St., 992-3167) through June 15. Native American spirituality infuses the horses of “Crystal Carol: Free Spirit” at Kaviar Forge & Gallery (1718 Frankfort Ave., 561-0377, www.kaviargallery.com), which runs April 25-June 28. And the colorful animals of Valerie Timmons-Ellis at Crescent Hill Gallery (2033 Frankfort Ave., 893-0511, www.crescenthillartgallery.com) are a more non-traditional approach. This show runs April 25-May 26.
Two group shows present the four-legged athletes in various media. ”Horsing Around: Celebrating Horses in Art” is at Rayluma Gallery (2214 Frankfort Ave., 618-2787, www.raylumagallery.com) through May 17. The Arts Association of Oldham County’s Gallery 104 (104 E. Main St., La Grange, 222-3822, www.gallery104.org) is featuring ”Art on the Tracks” through May 4.
Jockey silks are a symbol of horse racing and a source of inspiration for artists. Kathy Sullivan’s exhibition at the Gallery at the Brown (335 W. Broadway, 583-1234), which runs April 25-June 8, explodes with energy from the silks’ bright colors. Woodford Reserve thought so, too, and used her work on its 2006 Derby commemorative bottles.
Then there are the hats. We can’t forget the hats. The art jewelry store Objects of Desire (1503 Bardstown Road, 458-4164) has been doing hats right for 18 years. This year’s show, the “2008 Kentucky Derby Hat Exhibition — the Global Connection,” which runs through May 3, features more than 100 hats, including the latest trend of small sculptural headpieces called fascinators. Katerina Miaoulis, one of the designers in the show, will be at Objects of Desire from April 25-May 2.
Derby festivities include many art-related events that have become traditions, including the Annual Boat Race Party. It’s held at the Louisville Visual Art Association’s Water Tower, ideally located along the Ohio River (April 30, 3:30-7:30 p.m., 3005 River Road, 896-2146, www.louisvillevisualart.org, $35). The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft is presenting its 22nd Annual Oaks Brunch on May 2 at 9:30 a.m. (715 W. Main St., 589-0102, www.kentuckyarts.org, $125).
The Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center is hoping to get a tradition started with its “Mint Jambalaya” Dinner & Art Sale during the April 25 F.A.T. Friday Trolley Hop (6-10 p.m., 1860 Mellwood Ave., 895-3650, www.mellwoodartcenter.com). The event will benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Patti Fadel of Patticakes will cook up the $10 jambalaya dinner.
Visiting Cobalt Artworks (614 W. Main St., 584-0020, www.cobaltartworks.com), with its relationship with sports artist LeRoy Neiman, may become a natural thing to do this time of year. Neiman will be in town on May 1 to sign his Secretariat poster (12-1:30 p.m., $40). Secretariat owner Penny Chenery will also be at the gallery to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Secretariat winning the Kentucky Derby in 1973. If posters aren’t your thing, you can also find the image on 2008 commemorative bottles of Woodford Reserve.
Have an artful Derby, y’all.
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