New Jacobson Park Playground Unveiled

A new playground and art installation project at Jacobson Park opened Tuesday, Aug 2, becoming Lexington’s largest, most accessible playground, featuring the city’s first interactive and educational art installation for children.

The park’s new playground – unlike its predecessor – has equipment available to persons of all physical abilities and also has Lexington’s first playground with a play area for children under the age of 2.

The Livestream public art installation is the first of its kind in the city – combining  art, science and technology to educate children about Kentucky’s groundwater and the effect it has on the environment.

The installation consists of a series of pipe sculptures that use a custom-designed sonification toolkit to translate groundwater data into sounds.

Data points are generated from the groundwater’s conductivity, temperature and flow, and each data point corresponds to a pre-recorded sound.

The sounds of the Livestream have been composed by Kentucky musician Ben Sollee. (In 1997, as a middle schooler, Sollee was Lexington Family Magazine’s first Scholar Athlete.)

People can hear the sounds based on their proximity to the pipes. When an individual moves toward a pipe, the volume increases. Move away and it decreases. By walking around the installation, individuals literally play the ground.

The project was commissioned by LexArts and LFUCG’s Department of Environmental Quality and Public Works, and funded, in part, by a $40,000 National Endowment for the Arts ART WORKS grant. The Kentucky Geological Survey was also a partner in the project.

The playground includes a “natural play” area with native limestone boulders, logs salvaged from a 200-year-old burr oak from Castlewood Park that had died, and a monarch waystation garden.

The play area also features educational and nature scavenger hunt signs. An interactive stream play element will be added later this year and a “sprayground” will be added to the park near the playground next summer.

Info: (859) 288-2900 or