Brown family donates $18 million to Speed Art Museum renovation - News, Weather & Sports

Brown family donates $18 million to Speed Art Museum renovation

Demolition of the museum. Demolition of the museum.
Rendering of the renovated Speed Art Miuseum. Rendering of the renovated Speed Art Miuseum.
Christy Brown Christy Brown

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A highly anticipated renovation got underway on the campus of the University of Louisville Tuesday, thanks to a multi-million dollar donation by a local family.

Family members of late Brown-Forman Chairman Owsley Brown II donated $18 million toward the expansion and renovation of the Speed Art Museum during a press conference Tuesday.

The money will help complete a $50 million overhaul at the museum that includes expanding gallery space while adding an auditorium, an art park, a restaurant and a cafe.

"It's going to be stunning," said Lisa Resnik, the Speed Art Museum co-interim director.

Before his death in 2011, Brown helped raise money for the multi-phase museum project as a chairman. Brown's family members said donating to the project was their way of honoring his legacy.

"As a family we believe in the Speed, as Owsley believed in the Speed. And as a family we believe in Louisville, as Owsley believed in Louisville," said Brown's widow, Christy Brown. "We give you today our gift, to all of Louisville, to all of its children, to all of its artisans, and to all of its many, many visitors."

Following the donation announcement, crews began demolition at the museum. Cranes knocked down concrete walls, bent metal frames, and smashed glass.

Thanks to the donation, the Speed Art Museum expansion and renovation is expected to wrap up in 2016 - five to 10 years ahead of schedule.

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