A stainless steel, halo sculpture , bearing the words ,“Unlearn Fear and Hate” was installed in downtown Lexington Sunday. The sculpture was mounted near the courthouse district and the area referred to as Cheapside .
The “Unlearn Fear and Hate” art project was launched in 2016 by artists Kremena Todorova and Kurt Gohde, professors at Transylvania University. The art was initially inspired to address growing racial tensions around the country. The artwork with the words, “Unlearn Fear and Hate,” from a commissioned poem by former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker , is an invitation for everyone to become less fearful and more accepting by acknowledging our shared humanity.
Dr. Diane Loeffler, director of undergraduate programs in the college of social work at the University of Kentucky said this location is a powerful place for this sculpture to be installed. “ We’re standing here in Cheapside in Lexington which is once a place where slaves were sold in Lexington Kentucky. That’s deeply embedded in our cultural history and our past. So to think about that and the juxtaposition of this phrase , I think, are so powerful,” Loeffler said.
The art project has been shared around the globe with smaller halos, 60-foot long stencils, lapel pins and cross-stitches with the words, “Unlearn Fear and Hate” in several languages.
Major support for the sculpture comes from a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Additional funding was supported by a list of other donors.
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