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Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
Kentucky Arts Council

Tom Musgrave

Derby Blanket exhibit featured work by
Kentucky School for the Blind

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 31, 2017) — Twenty-eight schools from across the state had art on display at the Governor’s Derby Celebration, May 6 on the lawn of the Old State Capitol.

The blankets, distributed to schools by the Kentucky Arts Council in early April, have become a celebrated tradition since the project started seven years ago, with hundreds of students participating each year. Ranging from fun and whimsical to intricate and detailed, the finished Derby blankets are placed atop picnic tables that have been converted into horses with an attached head and tail. These tables were on display on the lawn of the Old State Capitol in downtown Frankfort on the day of the celebration.

Jackie Williams, principal for Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville, said her students based their design on designs of previous Derby blankets from other schools and photos from the Derby itself.

“This was a pretty neat opportunity because we had two of our high school students take the lead on this,” Williams said. “I liked listening to what kind of brushes they like using. They would feel the brushes.”

Williams said she hopes this becomes an annual tradition for the school to follow.

“Next year I’d like to get even more students involved,” she said. “I hope to add more tactile things to the blanket, different textures that people can feel.”

Participating schools, listed by name and county include:

  • Adams Middle School, Floyd
  • Berea Community High School, Madison
  • Briarwood Elementary School, Warren
  • Caldwell County Elementary School, Caldwell
  • Camp Taylor Elementary School, Jefferson
  • Cardinal Valley Elementary School, Fayette
  • Chandler's School, Logan
  • Clarkson Elementary School, Grayson
  • Cumberland County Elementary School, Cumberland
  • Green County Middle School, Green
  • James A. Duff Elementary School, Floyd
  • Jones Park Elementary School, Casey
  • Kentucky School for the Blind, Jefferson
  • Marion County High School, Marion
  • McCreary Central High School, McCreary
  • Memorial Elementary School, Hart
  • Natcher Elementary School, Warren
  • Northern Elementary School, Pendleton
  • Northside Elementary School, Woodford
  • Ohio County Middle School, Ohio
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, Fayette
  • Phelps Junior and Senior High School, Pike
  • Rosenwald Dunbar Elementary School, Jessamine
  • Spencer County High School, Spencer
  • The Providence School, Jessamine
  • Trigg County High School, Trigg
  • Tully Elementary School, Jefferson
  • Warren East Middle School, Warren

For a slideshow of each school’s Derby blanket, visit the arts council website.

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The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.