Arts and Culture

Louisville artist Kacy Jackson inspected several posters, still warm from the press, with a small magnifying glass. 

“I was just kind of zooming in and kind of taking a look at each little part and making sure that it was perfect,” Jackson said.  

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Louisville artist Kacy Jackson makes sure there are no imperfections showing up on the printed posters of his Kentucky Derby Festival designs.

The posters under Jackson’s scrutiny were the official designs of the 2022 Kentucky Derby Festival, unveiled at Welch Printing Company in Louisville Monday. 

The primary artwork features Louisville’s skyline with the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge in the foreground. It’s all accentuated by bold geometric shapes in colors across the spectrum.

Jackson, who is known for his vibrant murals around town, said he wants it to have a message of unity. 

“Here in Louisville, we got so many elements, and so many different cultures here, and different types of people from different backgrounds coming together to celebrate one festival,” he said.

He added that the design is reflective of his typical artistic approach.

“It’s not just one vision,” he said. “It’s more like it’s multicolored, just continue to represent unity and continue to bring everyone together. You know? So I use multiple colors to just kind of celebrate that.”

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A close-up shot of Jackson’s designs for the 2022 Kentucky Derby Festival.

Designing the poster was about a two-week-long process, Jackson said.

Jackson also designed this year’s limited edition Derby Festival poster. There will be about 500 of those, and they’ll feature a multicolored Pegasus poised to take flight.

As the official poster artist, Jackson received monetary compensation for his designs, as well as festival tickets and merchandise packages, according to a Kentucky Derby Festival spokesperson. They did not disclose a dollar amount.

The tradition of the Derby Festival official poster, and selecting an artist to design it, dates back to 1981. And according to festival organizers, this is the first time in that 40-plus-year history that Welch Printing Company printed the posters.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A worker removes one of the Kentucky Derby Festival posters at Welch Printing Company in Louisville on Feb. 7, 2022.

Welch CEO Brian Houchens said it was a “privilege.” 

“I’ve wanted to do it for years,” Houchens continued.  

Asked how it felt to see his work on paper, Jackson said: “It’s legendary. Man it’s like wow, you know?”

Support for this story was provided in part by the Great Meadows Foundation.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.