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The Speed Art Museum in Louisville announces its public re-opening date: March 12, 2016
Rendering of Speed Art Museum expansion exterior. Courtesy of wHY Architecture.

LOUISVILLE, KY.- The Speed Art Museum announced that it will re-open its doors to the public on Saturday, March 12, 2016. The Museum is busy planning opening weekend festivities and has plans to keep the Museum open for 30 straight hours immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony at 10am. “We want the community to have unprecedented access to the Museum after our three-year long closure,” said Ghislain d’Humières, Director of the Speed Art Museum. “The new Speed will be an inclusive and welcoming environment that will engage visitors of all ages in conversations with each other and with the works of art,” added d’Humières.

In addition to the announcement of the 2016 re-opening, the Speed today kicked off a $2.5 million dollar year-long public fundraising campaign called Speed 365. Strong campaign leadership and the generosity of early donors has kept the construction ahead of schedule for the March re-opening.

“As the exterior of the building takes shape, it’s time to start thinking about what’s happening inside – the changes that will let you experience the Museum in a whole new way,” stated Bruce Merrick, Chair of the Speed Art Museum’s Board of Trustees. “This year-long campaign will provide funding to expand community and school outreach programs across the commonwealth and to engage under-served populations. It will also provide infrastructure for a re-imagined interactive Art Sparks – a dynamic learning space for the young and old alike, as well as support for an increased number of regional, national, and international exhibitions, and funding for our first-rate film program in the new state-of-the-art cinema,” he added.

The success of the phase one capital campaign allowed for the completion of the Museum’s master plan, which includes a new North Building, a new South Building that includes a 142 seat cinema, a central utilities building, and an art park and piazza. The new public phase of the campaign consists of donations via the campaign’s website,, or by texting Speed 365, where anyone can make a $10 donation at anytime.

Immediately following the announcement, d’Humières and Merrick started a countdown clock that represents the approximately 365 days left to re-opening. The countdown clock will be displayed at Local Speed, located in the heart of Louisville’s trendy NuLu district.

A look at the new Speed Art Museum
The new 62,500 sq. ft. North Building will be 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 expansion will create a new state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, contemporary art galleries, a family education and welcome center, indoor/outdoor café, museum shop, and a multifunctional pavilion for performances, lectures and entertaining. Additionally, the new Elizabeth P. and Frederick K. Cressman Art Park and public Piazza will feature a sculpture garden that will engage University of Louisville students and museum visitors alike. The Art Park will give the thousands of students who walk past the Speed each day on the adjoining UofL Belknap Campus the ability to mingle with great art and architecture.

The total expansion effort encompasses approximately 220,000 sq. ft., including 79,600 sq. ft. of renovation, 75,000 sq. ft. of new construction, and 135,000 sq. ft. of landscape improvements.

Internationally renowned museum designer Kulapat Yantrasast of Los Angeles-based wHY Architecture created the design in association with K. Norman Berry Associates of Louisville. Landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand from Boston designed the concept plan for the Museum’s setting along South Third Street on the northwest corner of the University of Louisville’s Belknap Campus and local Landscape Architects, Carmen and Associates designed the landscaping plan.

Louisville philanthropist Hattie Bishop Speed founded the Speed Art Museum in 1925 with a belief in the power of art to change people’s lives. The Speed’s first building was designed by Louisville-based architect Arthur Loomis and opened in 1927; new structures were added in 1957, 1972, 1983 and 1996. The renovated Speed will have a natural flow through the building with a 67% increase in space for special exhibitions.

Despite the closure, the Speed continues to play an important role in the cultural and educational life of the region through community outreach initiatives, workshops, tours and art-related school programs.

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