SLIDESHOW: Speed Art Museum hails $18 million gift - WDRB 41 Louisville News

SLIDESHOW: Speed Art Museum hails $18 million gift

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The Speed Art Museum says an $18 million gift will allow it to complete the final phase of its renovation plan within three years rather than 10. The Speed Art Museum says an $18 million gift will allow it to complete the final phase of its renovation plan within three years rather than 10.

LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- The Speed Art Museum says an $18 million gift will allow it to complete the final phase of its renovation plan within three years rather than 10 to 15.  Originally, museum officials said their goal was to raise $15 million for the "Changing Speed" fundraising initiative.

Dozens welcomed news about a place rooted in Louisville's history, created to share and preserve that history.

The family of the late Owsley Brown II made that contribution in his honor.  Museum officials said the contribution will allow the master plan to be completed and construction to go ahead of schedule.  There are three phases in that plan.

The third phase of the Speed's renovation project includes adding a new South Building and making extensive renovations to the current building.  The South Building will include more gallery space and a theatre devoted to film, as well as the "Center for Kentucky Art, which will showcase paintings and sculptures, as well as furniture, silver, and other items.

The interim director said this means leaps and bounds for the progress of the museum.

"It will just allow us to do everything and more that we really want to do," said Chief Operating Officer Lisa Resnik of the JB Speed Art Museum.

Those who helped make that happen say the Speed is essential to the community.

"It's an extraordinary educational tool and tourist attraction and this whole project and the magnitude of this project is really serious sustainable urban revitalization project," said Christy Brown.

Brown joined Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and many others in announcing the news.  She said the Brown family, who owns Brown-Forman, were delighted to be a part of the celebration.

"We were so blessed to be able to contribute at this level and we just can't wait for it to be finished," Brown said.

Resnik said one part of the addition will be state-of-the-art.

"The theater will showcase digital, 65 and 35 millimeter film and no one in the region has this," said Resnik.

"It's going to be great for the university and for the community."

The Speed Museum is closed through 2015 for the renovation and expansion.  Resnik said they expect to open their doors in the Spring of 2016.  "Local Speed" was established recently at 822 East Market Street in the NuLu district.

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