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MSU art students, alumni and faculty featured in Horse Mania 2022 in Lexington

Morehead State University's Department of Art and Design is getting to trot out some of its creative work in Lexington.  

Horse Mania, a popular art initiative in Lexington, selected the designs of Professor of Art Gary Mesa-Gaido, Kayle Thornsberry (Class of 2021) and Haley Younce (Class of 2019) for Horse Mania 2022. 

The display features uniquely painted and designed life-sized horse sculptures across the city from April through November. LexArts is sponsoring the project, and it will coincide with the 2022 Breeder's Cup Championships, which take place Nov. 4 and 5 at Keeneland and bring in around 50,000 visitors to Lexington for the event.  

Mesa-Gaido is a faculty member in the Department of Art and Design. He teaches courses in digital art, animation, painting, foundations and advanced studios. He has been an active artist for more than two decades and has displayed his work nationally and internationally.  

Thornsberry is from West Liberty and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Art and Arts Teaching P-12, Bachelor of Arts with certification in December 2021. She currently has murals on display in Morehead, and the Pikeville Main Street program is displaying her artistic bears in downtown Pikeville. 

Younce is from Salyersville and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a teaching certification (K-12) in 2019 and anticipates earning a Master of Arts in Art with a concentration in studio art in December 2022. She found out about Lexington's Horse Mania through a professor within the Department of Art and Design in the fall semester of 2021.   

"Any opportunity that is presented to me as an artist is always an opportunity to get my work out there, and my ideology when applying for these projects is that the worst thing that could happen is them telling me no," she said.  

After submitting three designs, Horse Mania chose her design titled "Big Blue." According to Younce, "Big Lex," the horse that turned blue from grazing in Kentucky's bluegrass pasture, inspired the design.   

"When I found out my design was selected out of the 400 submissions, I was honestly in shock considering the amount of artwork they had to choose from, but I was so grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a beloved public art project," she said. "Also, knowing that my work was chosen alongside my professors that I look up to and learn from shows me that I am taking my artwork and career in the right direction."    

To learn more about Horse Mania 2022, visit https://lexarts.org/discover/horsemania.  

For more information about programs in Art and Design, please visit www.moreheadstate.edu/art, email arde@moreheadstate.edu or call 606-783-2766. 


Photo: Haley Younce (Class of 2019) painting “Big Blue,” her design selected for display in the popular LexArts initiative Horse Mania 2022 in Lexington.