Kentucky Derby Festival

This is the fifth time these sisters have collaborated to honor their “old Kentucky home.”

Meghan Overdeep
February 2, 2018

The story behind the official poster of the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival is just as meaningful as the poster itself.

This year marks the fifth time twin sisters Jeaneen Barnhart and Doreen Barnhart DeHart have teamed up to create the symbol for the two-week festival leading up to the running of the Kentucky Derby. The Louisville natives also collaborated on the artwork for the poster in 1994, 1997, 2009, and 2014.

“Creating the festival’s poster still means as much now as it did the first time around, maybe even more, as our passion for the both the festival and the community have grown,” Doreen said in a statement.

Work on this year’s design, titled the “Spirited Pegasus," began more than a year ago.

"When we started thinking about this year's poster it wasn't about how to make it better but how to make it different," Doreen told The Courier-Journal. "And this new poster is very different. It's not like the other posters we have done."

This time they took a risk.

The magic began with Jeaneen, a fine artist, who used a spontaneous flow of oil pastel sticks and oil wash brushstrokes to create a bold yet stunningly nebulous image of a Pegasus. Doreen, a graphic artist, took over from there, adding the elaborate Fleur de Festival emblem, which is actually a composite of images that represent the Kentucky Derby Festival and its many events, to the bottom of the poster.

Kentucky Derby Festival

"I incorporated the horse image my sister had drawn and intertwined symbols from our community during the spring," Doreen told The Courier-Journal. "There are fireworks from Thunder Over Louisville, both Ohio River Bridges, a runner, a steamboat, a bourbon barrel, old and new planes from the airshow and downtown buildings."

The sisters agree: this year's poster definitely symbolizes the Kentucky Derby Festival, there’s a lot of them in it too.

"There is a real contrast in the poster between her drawing of the Pegasus and my Fleur de Festival emblem," Doreen told the Courier-Journal. "It really represents both of us."

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The poster officially goes on sale March 2, however fans can pre-order it here until February 2.

"Working together as artists is something we wanted to do since we were kids and the Kentucky Derby Festival project has allowed that to happen for us," Jeaneen noted.