Art at Ashland

Art at Ashland features different artistic expressions that offer a variety of viewer experiences ranging from towering steel sculptures to small wattle structures. There’s something to inspire everyone’s artistic palette!

Monumental-John Henry at Ashland

Three large-scale John Henry sculptures will re-define the skyline at Ashland for the next nine months. “We believe John’s dramatic and towering art will draw visitors to explore the grounds, which were recently accredited Arboretum status,” said Executive Director Jim Clark. “The monumental scale of his work also ties in with our educational outreach. The fine balance Henry achieves in the physical realm of metal is what Clay did in the political realm with people. In many respects, these contemporary expressions evoke the spirit of Clay, who towered over the political landscape of the country for half a century.” Clay was also known throughout America for his encouragement of innovative design and architecture.

With a career spanning over 45 years in five continents, John Henry, a Lexington-native and UK graduate, is one of America’s most influential sculptors. Henry’s work transcends its foundations and speaks to issues like structure, scale, and the dialogue between the artist and the contemporary landscape. The public is invited to experience these three strategically sited installations on the ideal landscape of the Henry Clay Estate.

Sponsors: VisitLex, Mt. Brilliant Family Foundation, Kentucky Bank, with additional support from Jim Gray, Lexington Corridors Commission, Elizabeth Boone, and crane service by Wilhite Limited, Inc.

Looking for more reasons why we brought John Henry to Ashland? Click here

Aerial view of La Tour Installation (Photos by Kimberly DeCamp): Click here!

"La Tour" by John Henry

Cor-ten Steel–2012
50′ H x 25′ L x 20′ W

"Rocher du Diamant"

Welded Aluminum–1980
13′ H x 20′ L x 20’1″ W
Collection of Martin Z. Margulies, Miami, FL

"Publisher" by John Henry

Welded Steel–2010
70′ H x 24′ L x 26′ W

Maji Mazuri–“Good Waters” by Kiptoo Tarus

A Thoroughbred, sipping water, evokes the history of Henry Clay as an entrepreneurial farmer. Clay was the first to form a Thoroughbred syndication in America and his innovation and influence led to Kentucky’s current global standing in the equine industry. A black maple stump that had long stood on the corner of Richmond and Sycamore Roads inspired Tarus to carve Maji Mazuri. Tarus is known for large-scale wood sculptures, often carved with a chainsaw. What this stump revealed to him has now become an iconic and welcoming entrée to the estate.



Sponsors: Lexington Corridors Commission.


Woven Vessel–Kentucky Crafted Eco-Artist, Justin Roberts

From the 21st century of contemporary steel construction we pivot back as far as the Neolithic period, when structures were built using the “wattle and daub” technique. Wattle (minus the daub) is today, a picturesque way to screen utilities or add definition in a garden. Justin was commissioned to build the wattle fence surrounding the hemp plot. (Hemp – made into rope and bagging – was Henry Clay’s largest cash crop). With leftover willow saplings Roberts demonstrated the variety of ways wattle can be used by creating the sculpture, and the wattle borders in front of the Keepers Cottage. They may not tower, but they certainly add a pleasant and traditional aesthetic to the landscape.

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