Hidden treasures: Artist known for hiding dolls gives lecture


Dolls made by Ed Franklin were displayed in Lexington, Ky., on 9/17/10 at SQecial Media. Photo by Latara Appleby

by Geoffrey Giancarlo

Lexington residents may be growing accustomed to the gallopaloozas popping up around the city in preparation for the World Equestrian Games, but other figurines became residents before the horses made their appearance.

Last year, artist Ed Franklin began his doll project, hiding wooden dolls around Lexington and posting enigmatic clues like, “Now Oswald swears that watering hole is just aside this grassy knoll.”

Franklin has been hiding and posting clues nightly in the month of September.

For those frustrated with his sometimes indecipherable clues, or for those who just want to meet the man behind the pieces, Franklin will have an interactive art exhibit Tuesday.

Philosophy freshman Nolan Gray is one student who searched for the dolls.

Gray said he heard of the dolls about a year ago, but he never took part in the hunt until recently.

“I love how this guy makes great art and is willing to just give it away for those who explore Lexington,” Gray said.

Tuesday’s exhibit is part of a growing program the Gaines Center and the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library sponsor called the Little/Gaines Artist Series. Each month, a local artist is selected to exhibit their art. Last year there were four exhibits, and there will be six this year.

Gaines Center Associate Director Lisa Broome-Price said this year’s series will have an open application process in the spring for local artists and students to apply to have their work on display.

Broome-Price said Tuesday’s exhibit gives students the opportunity to hear about the artistic process of one of Lexington’s most-exciting artists.

Tuesday’s event will be split into two parts. Franklin will give out five different clues to the locations of five different dolls, and he will also spend time talking about his “polite graffiti” art.

Franklin creates these pieces to inspire positive messages for society. After an introduction, Franklin will encourage those attending to create “polite graffiti” with him in an interactive session.

“He looks at art as a positive and inclusive process and believes that we all have something of an artist within us,” Broome-Price said.

Nolan said Franklin’s art fits into the recent art developments in Lexington.

“This all shows that Lexington is incredibly artistic,” Nolan said. “The hidden dolls, the gallery hops, the painted storm drains, the painted horses — it’s pretty overwhelming. There is a lot of art going on here these days.”