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Former Sidney teacher chosen as 2017 Kentucky Derby artist


Courtesy Photo

Jim Cantrell

Jim Cantrell, a former Sidney art teacher, was chosen as the official artist for the 2017 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks races.

He received the call from Churchill Downs last summer and completed the art in the fall.

Cantrell said it was an honor to be chosen.

"At first I didn't understand it, but it's turned out to be, not an ordeal, but it's something I'm not used to," he said. "All this celebrity, people stopping me on the street and that sort of thing."

Cantrell was reluctant at first, gallery owner and wife Jeannette Cantrell, said.

"He was called in July and at first said 'I don't think so' until we convinced him this was international exposure," she said. "Everybody knows about the Derby."

The time constraint, though, was nerve-wracking.

"He wanted to do the paintings in oil, and they said they liked his watercolor. Watercolor, if you make too many changes, you've got to start all over," she said. "He did two paintings, one for the Oaks on Friday and one for the Derby on Saturday."

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