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Now That's a Tablecloth: Students cover 54 tables at annual Governor's Derby Celebration

This Derby 'blanket' from students at New Haven Elementary in Union takes us through the American Revolution to space exploration to NASCAR. (Photo from KAC)

This Derby ‘blanket’ from students at New Haven Elementary in Union takes us through the American Revolution to space exploration to NASCAR. (Photo from KAC)

Students in 54 Kentucky classrooms painted Derby-themed canvases that will adorn picnic tables May 3 as part of the annual Governor’s Derby Celebration.
The blankets, distributed to schools by the Kentucky Arts Council in early April, have become a celebrated tradition since the project started five years ago, with hundreds of students participating each year. Ranging from fun and whimsical to intricate and detailed, the finished “Derby blankets” are placed atop picnic tables that have been converted into “horses” with an attached head and tail.
“The Derby blanket project is not only a great way to incorporate arts education into the classroom, but also a fun way for students to participate in Derby festivities,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “The children are always very proud of the finished canvases on display at the Governor’s celebration.”

This 'blanket' is from Shelbyville High School. (Photo from KAC)

This ‘blanket’ is from Shelbyville High School. (Photo from KAC)

In years past, the blankets have taken on bigger meaning as classrooms have used them to honor fellow classmates or causes. In 2012, students from Knox County Middle School dedicated their blanket to a classmate who had died earlier in the semester by using an enlarged version of the student’s notebook doodle as their design. Last year, students from Jacob Elementary School in Louisville used their blanket to promote autism awareness.
This year, Knox County Middle School again dedicated their hand-painted design to a fellow student. The school’s purple and yellow blanket is dedicated to Harley Laxton, a seventh-grade classmate who is undergoing treatment for cancer.
Other participating schools are:
Auburn School, Auburn
Bate Middle School, Danville
Bloom Elementary School, Louisville
Boyd County Schools, Ashland
Bremen Elementary School, Bremen
Camp Taylor Elementary, Louisville
Christ the King School, Madisonville
Cumberland County Elementary School, Burkesville
East Jessamine Middle School, Nicholasville
Estill Springs Elementary School, Irvine
EKU Model Laboratory School, Richmond
Garden Springs Elementary School, Lexington
Johnson Central High School, Paintsville
Meadowthorpe Elementary School, Lexington
Memorial School, Hardyville
Mercer County Intermediate School, Harrodsburg
Metcalfe High School, Edmonton
New Haven Elementary, Union
Noe Middle School, Louisville
North Bullitt High School, Shepherdsville
Ohio County Middle School, Hartford
Pleasure Ridge Park High School, Louisville
Price Elementary School, Louisville
Pride Ave. Elementary, Madisonville
Ramsey Middle School, Louisville
Reidland Elementary and Middle Schools, Paducah
Roberston County Schools, Mount Olivet
Sandersville Elementary, Lexington
Sayre Middle School, Lexington
Seton Catholic, Lexington
Shelby County High School, Shelbyville
Shelby County Public Schools, Shelbyville
Summit Christian Academy, Lexington
Tully ES School, Louisville
Waller Williams Environmental School, Louisville
Washington County Board of Education, Springfield
Walker Early Elementary Learning Center, Monticello
Whitley City Elementary School, Whitley City
Woodland Elementary, Radcliff
Wright Elementary, Fort Wright
Morgantown Elementary, Morgantown
The Governor’s Derby Celebration is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 3 in downtown Frankfort. The Derby blankets, coordinated by the arts council on behalf of Gov. Steve Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear, will be on picnic tables on the Old State Capitol lawn. View photos of the Derby blankets on the arts council’s Facebook page.
From Ky. Arts Council

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