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Get to know Artworks at the Carver School

From Kiddie Kapers Dance Company to adult pottery classes, Artworks at the Carver School is a historic, artistic oasis.

The exterior of Artworks at the Carver School featuring a half-circle walkway with instruments and big trees

The Artworks at the Carver School is here for your next lesson. | Photo by LEXtoday

Table of Contents

Next week, class is back in session at Artworks at the Carver School. And guess what? It’s not too late to join the fun as dozens of classes for the spring semester have opened (and some extra spots this fall).

If you’re like us and ever gawked at the building’s beautiful facade, you might be curious what’s inside. Allow us to take you on a tour that’s full of history, learning, and charm at 522 Patterson St.

A big brick building known as the Carver Community Center

A look back at what the Carver Community Center once looked like. | Photo provided by Lexington Parks & Recreation


Lexington Parks & Recreation, who runs the space and has offices in the building, helped us turn back time in the Davis Bottom neighborhood.

  • The building opened in 1934 as George Washington Carver Elementary School.
  • By 1969, there was an enrollment of 260 students and a staff of 13 classroom teachers, a librarian, and specialty teachers.
  • In 1970, Carver Elementary School was partially integrated, but closed in 1972 as part of Fayette County Public School system’s final desegregation plan.
  • In 1976, the building was transformed into Carver Community Center, where it housed youth programs + served as one of the Tubby Smith Clubhouses.
  • In 2014, the building became a part of Parks & Recreation, becoming what it is today.
A class room with art supplies for printmaking.

Artworks at the Carver School is actually hiring a printmaking instructor to lead classes in this studio. | Photo by LEXtoday

Present Day

Despite all the changes, the building has come back to its roots. “We are using it again in its true form — of people learning [and] coming together as a community. I think that people really are looking for that...a gathering place,” said Amber Luallen, Superintendent of Cultural Arts & Events.

From therapeutic recreation and Kiddie Kapers Dance Company, to rehearsals for the Lexington Theatre Company and adult art classes — there is a lot of excitement + energy in the building. “You feel a buzz when you come in here,” said Mindy Stone, Artworks Center Director.

Next time you attend Ballet Under the Stars or the Thriller Parade downtown, you’ll know these talented Lexingtonians got their start on the fertile ground that is Artworks at the Carver School.

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