LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Excitement and anticipation are building as the Speed Art Museum prepares to reopen Saturday after being closed for more than three years.
The museum will launch with a 30-hour celebration that is free and open to the public around the clock, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The original Speed Art Museum, which opened in 1927, is now connected to a new 62,000-square-foot building.
The $60 million expansion, paid for with private funding, doubles the overall square footage and nearly triples the gallery space from the existing wing. The museum designer, Thai architect Kulapat Yantrasast, wanted to create a museum for the 21st century. It is largely transparent and features 400 glass panels in the building. In those panels are tiny, beautiful, metallic squares that also serve to reflect light.
The artwork ranges from the classic to the contemporary, with a Kentucky twist. The combination is a nod to the Speed's mission, said museum Director Ghislain d'Humieres, who aims to "bring art from around the world for the next generation of children so you can understand diversity and different cultures."
The museum is also noticeably open; there are no velvet ropes or chains blocking off the art. Visitors are up-close and personal with the exhibits.
Kentucky artwork also takes center stage.
"We have an amazing collection of furniture, ceramic, silver - scoping 300 years of history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky," d'Humieres said.
There are even entire exhibits dedicated to Kentucky photography, depicting the state's rich history.
Also on display are modern exhibits challenging current issues and hot topics. Contemporary art "really allows us to delve into the issues that are important to people alive today, including topics like gender, immigration, refugee status and how we understand technology," d'Humieres said.
Technology is also a major part of the "Art Sparks" area, a kid-friendly zone located on the museum's lower level.
Color, light, technology and perception are used to stretch the imagination.
"We are going to be that dynamic place in the community," d'Humieres said. "It's not only about art; it's about all of us."
Thanks to a $1 million gift from Brown-Forman Corporation, every Sunday for five years the Speed will be free and open to the public.
Admission to the Speed is $12 for adults, $8 for kids age 4-17 and free for kids 3 and under.