LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Beginning in October, the Speed Art Museum will close for three years during its $50 million renovation. The museum board voted Dec. 15 to close during the construction, which is planned through 2015.
“We truly had hoped there would be a way to stay open during this transformation, but we don’t want our guests to have a diminished experience or be put in harm’s way due to the construction,” said board chairman Todd P. Lowe in a statement.
A new 60,000-square-foot North Building will double the overall square footage and nearly triple the gallery space from the existing wing. The expansion will create a state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, new contemporary art galleries, a family education welcome center, an indoor/outdoor cafe, a museum shop and a multifunctional pavilion for performances, lectures and entertaining.
Additionally, a new art park and public piazza will be created for the display of sculpture.
Ground is scheduled to be broken on the expansion this fall. The construction will include demolishing a 1972 addition and replacing the main entrance.
“The staff has anticipated the potential need to close, as was the case during the museum’s renovation in the 1990s, by developing traveling exhibitions featuring artworks from the Speed’s collection,” said Lowe.
“For example, the exhibition ‘Rembrandt, Rubens and the Golden Age of European Painting from the Speed Art Museum’ opens in Memphis, Tenn., in January as part of the show’s national tour.”
Lowe said additional exhibitions of the Speed’s artworks will tour during the construction period.
An independent museum located on the campus of the University of Louisville, the Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s largest art museum with a collection that spans 6,000 years of human creativity.