Art in the North End


Lexington Art League
209 Castlewood Drive

The Lexington Art League is a visual arts organization that is located in the Loudoun House at Castlewood Park. 

The Mission of the Lexington Art League is “to challenge, educate, engage, and enhance our community through visual art and the advancement of local artists.” 

The Lexington Art League (LAL) is a multi-faceted visual arts organizationthat operates many programs out of the Loudoun House. LAL is a very community-focused organization which provides several services and benefits to the North End of Lexington at no cost. LAL’s slogan is “Art for Everyone” which “reflects the organization’s commitment to providing free, multiple access points for patrons to experience visual art.”  

The Loudoun House itself serves as the main space for LAL, hosting multiple exhibitions each year in its several galleries on the main floor. The galleries are free and open to the public for access during the workweek, and occasionally on weekends.  LAL also hosts a free eight-week summer camp for North End youth, in partnership with LFUCG Parks & Recreation and the Castlewood Community Center, with the goal of providing a“non-traditional visual arts education.”  LAL also partners with Common Goodto provide further non-traditional arts education to North End children.

The Art League hosts an Artist Residency Program, which “cultivates unique, flexible opportunities for regional, national, and international artists to create new work via residencies lasting from one week to several months.”  LAL is the first visual arts organization in Kentucky to have a Community Supported Art (CSA) program, which is modeled on Community Supported Agriculture programs. The Lexington Art League puts on the annual Woodland Art Fair at Woodland Park and hosts an annual Black Friday Art Sale, in which all pieces of art are below $50. LAL also has a Studio Artists program in the Loudoun House.

The Lexington Art League regularly opens up its doors to neighborhood meetings as well. Currently, it hosts Castlewood Neighborhood Association meetings in its Board Room on a monthly basis.

Event at the Lexington Art League. Courtesy: Lexington Art League


Interior, Lexington Art League. Courtesy: Lexington Art League

Living Arts and Science Center
362 N Martin Luther King Boulevard

The Living Arts and Science Center sits on the border of Lexington’s North and East Ends, on Martin Luther King Boulevard. The Living Arts and Science Center “inspires participation in art and science by engaging the community through education, discovery, exploration and creativity.”

The Living Arts and Science Center (LASC) annually conducts over 300 classes and workshops for children and adults in their space, and hosts field trips for over 7,500 children each year. Their gallery space andeducation rooms host many of these classes in addition to the the handful of gallery exhibits that change throughout the year. 

LASC also puts a particular emphasis on neighborhood and community stewardship. They frequently host community meetings and gatherings. They offer professional development and training for teachers, along with free arts and science classes and workshops for many social service and community organizations in the area. They have programming specifically geared to“reduce barriers and make creativity and educational programs accessible to all,” in their various outreach programs. 

In 2016, the Living Arts and Science Center opened its brand-new 11,000 sq.ft. expansion which includes a planetarium and a makerspace, as well as a rooftop patio, and is surrounded by a working edible farm, rain gardens, and recycled water features.

Living Arts and Science Center. Courtesy: Smiley Pete Publishing

The Parachute Factory
720 Bryan Avenue

The Parachute Factory is a recently opened space inside the old parachute factory located at the intersection of North Limestone and the 700 block of Bryan Avenue. It “exists as a non-profit, multi-use space to promote artistic endeavors and community engagement.” They “provide a friendly and inviting exhibition space for artists that not only heralds artistic merit, but also thrives through community outreach.”

Parachute Factory. Courtesy: Parachute Factory

Homegrown Press
569 North Limestone Street

Homegrown Press is the studio of John Lackey, a block printer, painter and filmmaker. One of the main stops in the North End of LexArts’ quarterly “Gallery Hop,” Homegrown Press has been in the North End of Lexington since 2010. 

Homegrown Press. Courtesy: Homegrown Press

Al’s Bar
601 North Limestone

Al’s Bar is a fixture in the North End of Lexington. It is a home and hub for national, regional, and local music on almost every night of the week. It hosts a Cult Film Series on the first Thursday of every month, and also has its own comedy series, highlighting local and regional comedians.

Al’s Bar is also home to the Holler Poets Series, a monthly poetry series started by Eric Scott Sutherland in 2008. Holler Poets has featured a host of Kentucky’s literary talent including National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Kentucky Poet Laureates Frank X Walker and George Ella Lyon, Silas House, Gurney Norman, and many, many more.

Holler Poets Series at Al’s Bar. Courtesy: Lexington Herald-Leader

North Limestone MusicWorks
209 Castlewood Drive

North Limestone MusicWorks is a daily orchestral music education program based in the Loudoun House at Castlewood Park that serves students of Arlington Elementary in the North End. It is the first El Sistema-inspired program in the state of Kentucky, and provides daily, free group musical instruction to over 40 North End children. North Limestone MusicWorks, and the philosophy behind it, will be touched on in depth later in this document.

North Limestone MusicWorks. 
ourtesy: Lexington Herald-Leader

Community Engagements Through the Arts Class- Transylvania University

Community Engagements Through the Arts is an annual class taught byKremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde, two professors at Transylvania University. Community Engagements Through the Arts (CETA) seeks to build meaningful relationships between Transylvania University students and the community that surrounds the University through community art projects. 

CETA regularly invites community leaders from the North and East Ends of Lexington into the classroom (which is often located in one of these neighborhoods)  to tell their story of what their places mean to them. The class has partnered on a number of projects with members of the community, including creating superhero capes for neighborhood youth, constructing bird houses to demonstrate the connection between neighbors and what “home” means to them, and many other projects.


CETA’s Birdhouses. Courtesy: Lexington Herald-Leader

Wild Fig Books + Coffee
726 North Limestone Street

Wild Fig Books is a relatively recent addition to the North End of Lexington. It has quickly become a staple of the community, and an incredibly important business to the neighborhood. Wild Fig, run by two artists, hosts a weekly free storytime for neighborhood youth, regular poetry and literature readings, as well as open mic nights and musical performances. It is also one of the very few locations in the North End where books are available for purchase - and the only one which offers local authors, poetry, graphic novels, and more. Wild Fig has a mix of new and used books, as well as light snacks and coffee.

Wild Fig Books + Coffee. Courtesy: Kris Nonn

The Night Market
700 Bryan Avenue

The Night Market is a monthly pop-up open air market put on by the North Limestone CDC. It is free and open to the public, and runs from 6 pm to 10 pm. It primarily serves as a platform for North End businesses, artists, and nonprofits to grow, but it also serves as a way to highlight the creativity in the North End.

To make the Night Market possible, the 700 block of Bryan Avenue is temporarily closed to traffic on the day of the market. The street is lined on both sides by vendor booths, and the street is transformed through lighting, street trees, planters, and temporary art installations. On both ends of the market, there are food vendors from Northside restaurants, food trucks, and individuals aspiring to start new culinary businesses. In the parking lot just off of Bryan Ave, there is a beer draft trailer and biergarten courtesy of Northside brewery West Sixth Brewing, and live music from local and regional bands.

The Night Market. Courtesy: Kris Nonn

Further South on North Limestone Street

The area just south of the North End, situated alongthe North Limestone Corridor between Downtown Lexington and the Martin Luther King neighborhood, holds a number of artistic venues.  Somewould consider this a part of the North Limestone Neighborhood, as the North Limestone Neighborhood Association boundaries do stretch from Downtown to New Circle Road. Given that association, as well as their incredibly close proximity to the North End, a few of these locations are highlighted below.

Institute 193
193 North Limestone Street

Institute 193. Courtesy: Institute 193

Institute 193 is a non-profit organization and gallery spaces that “embraces the notion that groundbreaking contemporary art can and does emerge outside of large metropolitan centers.” It focuses on high-quality and relevant artists from Kentucky and the South, and helps these artists gain broader exposure in the art world and markets. 

Institute 193’s gallery space on North Limestone hosts musical performances, film screenings, lectures, and other community-driven events in addition to visual art exhibitions.

Third Street Stuff
257 North Limestone Street

Third Street Stuff is a coffee and variety shop located just south of the intersection of 3rd Street and North Limestone Street. It is widely regarded as the main unofficial cultural center of the city, and was described in a 2016 Lexington Herald-Leader article as “a hub for activism.”  

Third Street Stuff features art from and by community members, and newspaper articles of local artists and activists are pasted on the walls and countertops. 

Third Street Stuff. Courtesy: Lexington Herald-Leader

Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning
251 West Second Street

The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning is a landmark in the literary community of Kentucky. It is a non-profit family learning center for literacy education for individuals of all ages and learning levels that also provides support for writers. According to their website, “the Carnegie Center has long been a haven for writers, and we have built on that tradition to become a home to diverse groups of people who love to read, to discuss, to explore, to play, to create, and to learn.” Heavily rooted in the community, the Carnegie Center has an open-door policy, and draws many from the surrounding neighborhoods for language training, technology literacy education, and many other diverse forms of programming. 

Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning. Courtesy: Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning

Fusion Gallery
120 West Third Street

Fusion Gallery is a combination computer shop and art gallery that hosts a wide range of events, including kids’ art classes and salsa dancing classes. The gallery features the work of Kentucky artist Enrique Gonzalez.

Fusion Gallery. Courtesy: Fusion Gallery