Bienvenidos… bienvenue… ようこそ… willkommen… مرحباً… No matter the language, all are welcome at Global Lex, the City’s new Global Engagement Center now open at 1306 Versailles Rd. The mission of Global Lex is to support and encourage civic engagement, mutual understanding, economic development and artistic diversity.
“The global environment is thriving here in Lexington. Nearly 20 percent of our residents come from other countries,” Mayor Jim Gray said. “We’re connected to the world around us now more there ever, but it’s important to find ways to improve communication and understanding. Global Lex will help meet the needs of our diverse community with multilingual services, citizenship classes, driver’s education and public safety classes.”
Today, Mayor Gray joined Councilmembers, staff from Lexington’s Department of Social Services and local residents in celebrating the grand opening of Global Lex. The center houses the Office of Multicultural Affairs, which assists individuals who have limited English proficiency. Lexington’s foreign-born residents represent 131 spoken languages.
“The collaboration that made Global Lex possible has been tremendous,” said multicultural affairs coordinator Isabel Gereda Taylor. “Global Lex is a partnership between the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, local businesses, academia and cultural organizations. We want to be inclusive and representative of the entire community.”
“The opening of Global Lex is an opportunity for Lexington to boost networking and outreach that will break down barriers to cultural and economic growth,” said 11th District Councilmember Peggy Henson.
The center is located in the old Furrow’s building, and includes a large conference room, multi-purpose rooms and computers for training and tutoring. The renovated lobby features a bright art gallery showcasing the original work of artists from all over the world who now call Lexington home. LexArts Community Arts Director Nathan Zamarron and Dr. Changzheng Wang of the Kentucky Chinese American Association led an art committee for the Global Lex gallery.
“A diverse array of artists and organizers on the art committee ensured that the inaugural exhibition of the Global Lex art gallery represented many cultures from around the globe. The exhibit connects to the center’s mission of serving the many people living in Lexington who were born in other countries,” Zamarron said. “LexArts is happy to have been involved with the development of this important resource and space to celebrate artists in our community.”
Global Lex will also have the support of the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission, a 23-member commission authorized by Council to provide information and advice about issues affecting foreign-born residents of Lexington and the community at-large. Membership of the advisory commission is expected to be finalized by October.