HOP through time: Transylvania’s ties to self-guided art tour go back 25 years to beginning

Transylvania University’s Morlan Gallery

Transylvania University has made an oversized impact on the Lexington arts scene over the years — from hosting artist-in-residence Victor Hammer to supporting the citywide Unlearn Fear + Hate installations of professors Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova.

The university also has strong ties to the popular LexArts HOP, which is Friday evening.

In fact, 25 years ago Nancy Wolsk, a retired Transy art history professor and former Morlan Gallery director, helped organize the self-guided tour featuring Lexington galleries, studios and more.

Maury Sparrow, a 1987 graduate who works with the HOP as the LexArts communications director, provided the Herald-Leader with some background on the organizers’ motivation back in 1994. “They said, ‘We need something to open up the world of visual arts, so why don’t we all open our doors on the same night. It was just something different.”

The LexArts HOP, formerly known as the Gallery Hop, encouraged people to visit downtown.

“I think it really did help with the idea that the downtown was fun again and there was something happening,” Sparrow continued. “When you get people down here, it makes a difference.”

Our Morlan Gallery and Shearer Art Building’s student gallery are stops along the HOP during the school year. Morlan will reopen with a new exhibition season in September.

The LexArts HOP, which features more than 40 stops, begins at 5 p.m. on the third Friday of every other month.