Museum to re-open March 12
“Brown-Forman has been a long-time benefactor of the Speed, and we are very pleased to make this contribution which benefits our entire community in honor of former Brown-Forman chairman and CEO Owsley Brown II, who was one of Louisville’s most ardent arts’ patrons,” said Brown-Forman vice chairman James S. Welch. “Owsley firmly believed that making art accessible to everyone was essential for both individual and community well-being, so we are proud to provide this gift which will allow anyone to visit the beautiful new Speed Art Museum free of charge every Sunday for five years.”
The free Sunday admission to the Speed Art Museum will be called “Owsley Sundays” in honor of Owsley Brown II, who as CEO of Brown-Forman from 1993 to 2005, led the company’s transformation into a truly global company, continuing his family’s legacy of building Brown-Forman from generation to generation. The free Owsley Sundays will begin March 20 and continue through March of 2021.
“This wonderful gift brings together so many things my father cared deeply about: Brown-Forman’s commitment to Louisville, Louisville’s devotion to the arts, and art as the common ground of our shared human story,” said Brooke Barzun, co-chair of the Speed Art Museum’s capital campaign and daughter of the late Owsley Brown II. “Owsley Sundays gives those ideas a name and I hope it will allow every resident to visit and take ownership of our re-opened community treasure.”
The museum has been closed for three years for a major $60 million renovation and expansion that will double the square footage of the original museum. The museum will be open to the public for 30 straight hours immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on March 12.
The new 62,500-s.f. North Building is largely transparent and will create one of the finest experiential art museums in the country. It will double the museum’s overall square footage and nearly triple the gallery space from the existing wing. The total expansion effort encompasses approximately 220,000-s.f., including 79,600-s.f. of renovation, 75,000-s.f. of new construction, and 135,000-s.f. of landscape improvements.
The expansion creates a new state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, contemporary art galleries, a family education and welcome center, cinema, indoor/outdoor café, museum store, and a multifunctional Grand Hall for performances, lectures and entertaining. Additionally, the new Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park and public piazza will feature creative artworks created specifically for the Speed Museum.