LEXINGTON, KY (June 28, 2019) – Earlier this week, the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation (BGT) presented artists Marjorie Guyon, Patrick Mitchell and Nikky Finney with the 2019 Clay Lancaster Heritage Education Award, for their collaboration on “I Was Here”, a public art project memorializing the formerly enslaved who were once sold at Cheapside.
The BGT award honors an individual or group for service in researching and disseminating information about the Central Kentucky region. BGT's Annual Preservation Awards recognize nine outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations to the Blue Grass Trust or to the preservation movement in Kentucky.
According to its website, The Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation is Kentucky's oldest non-profit historic preservation organization. It offers leadership, expertise, and inspiration to the preservation movement in Central Kentucky. Its mission is to “preserve and protect the historic built environment and the heritage of the Bluegrass region of Kentucky,” through advocacy, activism, and education.
I Was Here is a 501(c)(3) that features images of contemporary African-American men, women, and children, turned into “Ancestor Spirit Portraits”. These portraits are a living memorial to the enslaved and suggest a path beyond “who we were” into a vision of “who we could be” as fellow citizens. The project works closely with communities to create “on the street museums” utilizing art to illustrate a common and shared humanity.
The project is currently installed in windows throughout downtown Lexington, and Winchester, Kentucky.
For more information about I Was Here, visit i-was-here.org.