Founded in 2009, Institute 193 embraces the notion that groundbreaking contemporary art can and does emerge outside of large metropolitan centers.
Institute 193 provides artists from Kentucky and the Southeastern United States—selected not by commercial viability, but by the quality and relevance of their work—with exhibition and publication opportunities. It also endeavors to help these artists gain broader media exposure and foster connections in art markets across the globe.
Institute 193’s gallery space is located in Lexington, Kentucky, a mid-sized city that lacks a museum for contemporary art, despite its vibrant creative community. Institute 193 fills this void by hosting musical performances, film screenings, lectures, and other community-driven events in addition to visual art exhibitions.
Institute 193 also participates in art fairs across the country in a direct effort to expose innovative Southern artists to the world at large, serving as an ambassador for the region and ultimately providing a foundation for a contemporary art center in Lexington.
This past year alone, we exhibited six artists, participated in the Outsider Art Fair in New York City, and issued several publications, including Institute 193: Volume One, Ben Sollee’s album The Hollow Sessions, and Making Pictures: Three for a Dime, which was featured in the New York Times. We also published two postcard sets with the UK Hospital Auxiliary and UK Arts in Healthcare featuring works by Robert Tharsing and James Baker Hall. This year, Institute 193’s pursuits were covered by the Lexington Herald-Leader, Ace Weekly, Burnaway, and others.
We are very proud of what we have accomplished thus far, and we have an exciting exhibition and publication program for the upcoming year. We are collaborating with the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft to organize an exhibition of works by Lloyd Mattingly and are partnering with the Lexington Film League to plan an exhibtion of films by James Baker Hall. Additionally, we will exhibit works by Lexington artists Matt Mentir, Erin Eldred, and Mike McKay. By the end of the year, Institute 193 will publish "Institute 193: Volume Two," a retrospective catalog that will highlight all the artists who have exhibited in our space over the past three years. We plan to expand participation in art fairs across the country and to form new partnerships with relevant galleries, museums, art organizations, and media outlets in the South and beyond. Institute 193 also aims to extend its involvement with schools to include not only those in the Lexington-Fayette area but to those in rural parts of Kentucky that might otherwise have much less access to innovative contemporary artists.
Jones is the former director of the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, the largest collection of African-American vernacular art in the world. During his tenure with Souls Grown Deep, he co-curated exhibitions that traveled to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts (Nashville, TN), the Mint Museum (Charlotte, NC), the High Museum of Art (Atlanta, GA), and the New Orleans Museum of Art.
Cat Wentworth received her B.A. in Architecture from the University of Kentucky and has also studied architecture and art in New York City and Barcelona. While at UK, she was a Gaines Fellow at the Gaines Center for the Humanities, served on the Beaux Arts Committee for the Beaux Arts Foundation, and was a member of the UK Art Museum Student Advisory Board. She has worked in architecture and design offices across the country.
We published two postcard sets with the UK Hospital Auxiliary and UK Arts in Healthcare featuring works by Robert Tharsing and James Baker Hall.
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