$18 million donation boosts expansion plans at Speed Art Museum
An $18 million donation from the family of late philanthropist and Brown-Forman Chairman Owsley Brown II will allow the Speed Art Museum in Louisville to complete its expansion and renovation by 2016, five to 10 years earlier than expected.
The museum closed in September 2012 for three years for work on a project that will double the exhibition space and the number of visitors and dramatically change the look of the museum.
Brown’s family had been looking for a way to honor their father’s legacy, said Brooke Barzun, one of his three children. “In his final years, he worked passionately and hard at every level to make this project happen,” she said of the Speed’s master project.
The Browns’ contribution will be added to $50 million the museum has already raised for the project.
The donation will allow the museum to shave $20 million off the project’s original $79 million budget because of the expected lower cost of materials and labor, said Speed Board President Allan Latts. It also “puts us five to 10 years ahead of where we thought we would be in completing the master plan.”
That plan doubles the square footage of Kentucky’s largest museum and includes renovating 79,600 s.f. of existing space, constructing 75,000 s.f. of new space and adding landscape improvements to the museum’s property at the edge of the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus.
Bardstown, Maysville named Kentucky Cultural Districts
Bardstown and Maysville have joined the list of official Kentucky Cultural Districts, bringing to six the number of state-certified communities.
“Kentucky Cultural Districts are proven cultural destinations for visitors and provide a high quality of life for residents,” said First Lady Jane Beshear. “Arts and culture in these communities play a vital role in creative and economic development, not only for the cities but for the entire commonwealth.”
A cultural district is a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area of a community featuring a high concentration of cultural amenities that attract local residents and visitors alike. Cultural districts can be found in any type of community, from small and rural to large and urban.
Last year, Bardstown was named the “Most Beautiful Small Town in America” in the Rand McNally and USA Today Best of the Road competition.
Maysville, with numerous shops and galleries, award-winning theaters, historic buildings, and collectibles, antiques and craft shops, has long placed high value on arts and culture.
The two communities join Berea, Covington, Danville and Paducah on the list of Kentucky’s certified cultural districts.
Bob Stewart succeeds Marcheta Sparrow as Tourism, Arts and Heritage Secretary
Tourism and marketing veteran Bob Stewart will head the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, Gov. Steve Beshear announced in late May. He replaces Marcheta Sparrow, who recently retired after serving more than five years as tourism secretary.
Stewart was appointed Kentucky’s commissioner of travel under Gov. Brereton Jones in 1992 and served until September 2003. Stewart previously worked as deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of the Arts and as executive director of the Kentucky Bicentennial Commission. He also served as an executive assistant to Govs. Jones, Martha Layne Collins and Julian Carroll, and to Attorney General Fred Cowan. A native of Frankfort, Stewart is a graduate of Centre College and recently worked as a freelance marketing consultant.
In 2001, Stewart was named the National Tourism Director of the Year by the National Council of State Tourism Directors.
“Kentucky is unmatched in natural beauty, cultural richness and historic significance,” Stewart said. “When combined with our tradition of world-class hospitality, we offer visitors an experience they just can’t have anywhere else.”
Lori Meadows is executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.
Arts Events Around the State
Cosmic Nature: Kentucky Painter C.C. Coyle
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, Louisville
Through June 23
Scenes of Darley, pet cetera
Headley Whitney Museum, Lexington
6-8 p.m. June 27
SkyPac, Bowling Green
7:30 p.m. July 23
Paramount Arts Center, Ashland
8 p.m. June 21
David Byrne & St. Vincent
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
Whitney Hall, Louisville
7:30 p.m. July 2
10-Year Celebration Exhibit
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Through Aug. 24