Celebrating Horses with The Art of the Horse

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Before the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games even begin in Tryon, North Carolina, the region will be taken over by a unique type of horse.

The Art of the Horse is a public art project that will see 30 fiberglass horses painted by local artists and put on display in the foothills region of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North and South Carolina. The project is run by Our Carolina Foothills, a nonprofit organization that promotes some of the small towns in that area. This will be the second year that The Art of the Horse has taken place, and it will be especially relevant in the lead-up to next year’s WEG.

If this sounds familiar, it may be because Lexington, Kentucky sponsored a similar public art event, called Horse Mania, on two different occasions. The second Horse Mania was in 2010 in the lead up to that city’s hosting of the World Equestrian Games. Lexington’s project was inspired by similar projects such as Chicago’s 1999 CowParade.

Horse Mania
A horse from Lexington, Kentucky’s Horse Mania art installation in 2010.

In fact, it’s a Chicago-based studio, called Cowpainters, that will be providing the 30 fiberglass horses for the upcoming Art of the Horse, according to an article from the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald-Journal. Each one will be painted with an original design created by artists from the region. Artists interested in participating in this year’s Art of the Horse can submit their entries now through March 29. The theme for this year’s project is “One World. One Vision.”

The selected artists will be revealed on April 14 at the Tryon International Equestrian Center, host venue of the 2018 WEG. The final creations will be on display from April through September 2018 and will be auctioned as a fundraiser in October 2018, after the WEG has concluded. The art pieces are often purchased by local businesses. Many horses from the previous Art of the Horse event are still on display in the area.

You can view previous Art of the Horse pieces at ourcarolinafoothills.com.

Information on how to participate is available from Our Carolina Foothills’ Facebook post.


Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com

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