The 2019 Speed Art Museum Ball

Inside one of the year’s most iconic soirees

By Mattie Townson
Photos by
Clay Cook, Laura Ross, Bill Wine and Sydney Wray

Friends and supporters of the Speed Art Museum spend all year looking forward to the first Saturday in March, and now the grand occasion is almost upon us. The 2019 Speed Ball will continue the museum’s legacy of throwing a party like no other with a seated dinner, entertainment and more.

The night will begin with cocktails provided by Brown Forman and hors d’oeuvres catered by Wiltshire at the Speed.

“You’re surrounded by priceless works of art – paintings and sculptures and marble stone columns – in our historic 1927 Gallery,” said Evan McMahon, Speed Art Museum’s chief of staff to the director. “It’s just a beautiful space that, quite frankly, only the Speed is able to offer.”

Brooke Barzun and Christy Brown.

Enjoying a formal dinner in a dazzling setting is precisely what attracts so many to the highly-coveted event.

“The spaces above our galleries and our newly-designed North building spaces are perfect backdrops for a simple yet elegant design and decor,” said McMahon.

Another appealing component is the portrait lounge with celebrated photographer Clay Cook. He and his team will have a backdrop set up in the museum where patrons can have a stunning, formal photo taken to capture the marvelous evening.

If you’re interested in attending the Speed Ball, two types of tickets are available: The Benefactor ticket allows guests to dine in the 1927 Gallery with dinner and cocktails and includes access to the late-night portion of the event. There is also a Late Night ticket for guests interested in the party portion of the evening.

Colin McNaughton and Woo Speed McNaughton.


Speed Museum Director Stephen Reily and Emily Bingham.


Mandy Vine with Michael and Laura Jones.


Don Wenzel, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray, Lindy Casebier and Lukas Dwelly.


Clark Burckle, Rebecca and Graham Switzer with Kathy and Ken Herrington.


Ball committee member Ron Wolz and Crystal Smith.

“You’re always going to expect a great party,” McMahon said. “There’s no auction or appeal for extra funds at this event. Your ticket is your donation, and that promises for a great night.”

During the Late Night party, guests will be treated to live music from Love Jones as well as the high-energy dance group Second Wind, which is based out of Cincinnati. Dessert will be served during the Late Night portion of the evening.

“The musicians are going to keep people dancing all through the night until the event ends at 1 a.m.,” said McMahon.

Proceeds from the ball, which is the museum’s largest fundraiser,  ensure the Speed is able to continue sharing impressive works, exhibits and programming.

This year, the museum staff plans to expand their educational outreach to more schools in more counties, extend the reach outside of Louisville and showcase more Kentucky-based and Kentucky-inspired pieces. “The Speed Art Museum Ball helps us support all of our initiatives,” McMahon said. “It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year, and it is the most critical to our success and ability to grow our accessibility to the community and the state.” V

The Speed Ball 2019 is March 2, at the Speed Art Museum. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Late-Night portion of the evening begins at 9 p.m. Purchase tickets online at or contact Kelly Scott at 502.634.2704 or The Voice of Louisville is proud to be the exclusive media sponsor of the Speed Ball.