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Rolling out the barrels: First painted Bourbon Barrels are out — but just for a while, for a sneak peek

The first painted barrels created for the NKY Bourbon Barrel Project are out on the streets for a sneak preview of the public art, wayfinding project celebrating the region as the gateway to Kentucky’s signature industry — and the Bourbon Trail.

The barrel at Hotel Covington (NKyTribune photo)

The three initial barrels are currently located in Covington at the NKY Convention Center, Hotel Covington, and C-Forward.

They will be in place through July 19.

The NKY Bourbon Barrel Project is a joint effort of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce (NKY Chamber) and the Catalytic Fund. The project matches sponsors from the business community with local artists to create the custom painted bourbon barrels. Each barrel also has a solar lighting feature.

This effort will match the business community with local artists to create custom painted bourbon barrels, each with a solar lighting feature.

When complete, the barrels will be lined up along the streets of Northern Kentucky’s entertainment districts, serving as both wayfinding and public art.

On October 3, the completed barrels will be unveiled at a party for the sponsors and artists.

The barrel top. (NKyTribune photo)

The following day, the barrels will be placed throughout the entertainment districts in Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Ludlow.

The timing is deliberate — the barrels will be in place for both Kentucky’s first Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival and for BLINK which is coming to NKY for the first time.

In addition to the three barrels currently on display, more than 80 barrels have been sponsored so far. The deadline to sponsor a barrel is July 15.

Interested businesses and individuals can go to the website for more information.

The project will work like this:

* A business or organization will sponsor a barrel for $1,200; NKY Chamber members will receive a $200 discount off the price.

* The sponsorship will include
a barrel, along with fees and materials for an artist to paint it.

* The project will end with the completed barrels being debuted at an Unveiling Party and Bourbon Toast.

* After the party, barrels will be placed in key areas in Northern Kentucky, such as MainStrasse Village and Madison Ave. in Covington and Monmouth St. and Newport on the Levee in Newport.

The barrels will remain in place for at least one year, literally lighting up the streets with artistic wayfinding, while connecting the region in a unique way.

Northern Kentucky Convention Center barrel (Photo provided)

C-Forward barrel

See NKyTribune’s story about the project here.

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