"Off the Road" an Upcoming Event at Lyric Theater to Raise Awareness of Evils of I-75 Connector

Marble Creek - Jessamine County, Ky.
What do Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver, and Guy Mendes have in common?

Berry is an acclaimed novelist originally from Henry County, Ky.

Kingsolver, another accomplished novelist, grew up in Nicholas County, Ky. Both she and Berry have utilized pen and paper to further positive social change and promote environmental conservation.

Mendes attended the University of Kentucky and, falling in love with the Commonwealth, never left the region. His photography captures the beautiful people and places of Kentucky … and beyond.

So, what do these three have in common? Two novelists and a photographer make three artists. And all three have deep Kentucky ties.

And in two weeks, on Sept. 19, they will be joined by a host of other Kentucky artists to proclaim the glory of our beautiful Bluegrass at an event at the Lyric Theater in downtown Lexington’s historic East End.

The East End is a historically African-American community northeast of Lexington’s downtown core and the Lyric Theater was its artistic center hosting, among others over time, Count Basie and his Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Duke Ellington. Restored a few years ago, it continues its legacy as a community center and arts venue.

The event in two weeks’ time will welcome both Berry and Kingsolver to the stage where they will discuss the proposed I-75 Connector and its disastrous consequences on the priceless and irreplaceable natural beauty of the Marble Creek watershed and Kentucky Palisades.

Joining them in reading and song will be other Kentucky artists and musicians, including Crystal Wilkinson, Richard Taylor, Maurice Manning, Erik Reece, Eric Scott Sutherland, Matt Duncan, the Northside Sheiks, and Tee Dee Young.

Immediately before the 7:30 p.m. Lyric Theater event will be the premier of Guy Mendes’ exhibition of photographs of the threatened area. The exhibition premier will be from 5-7 p.m. at the Ann Tower Gallery of the Downtown Arts Center on Lexington’s Main Street.

It should be a great evening with the opportunity to hear some of Kentucky’s finest artists speak, read from their works, and perform. And it will be for a good cause: protecting the inner Bluegrass from an unnecessary and unnecessarily costly road.

The inner Bluegrass was listed in 2006 as one of the World Monument Fund’s most threatened sites since 2006.

The Bluegrass is an irreplaceable, finite resource and the proposed connector threatens some of the region’s finest parts.

For ticket information, visit lexingtonlyric.tix.com or call 859-280-2218.

I have my tickets. Do you?

This column originally appeared in the Jessamine Journal
It should not be republished without permission.