A Night To See To Believe

It’s been touted as a party to begin all others. But this year, it will be much more about the end than the beginning.

On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Speed Art Museum will host its annual 100/100 event, the institution’s yearly recruitment party for its Patron Circle, a status reserved for those who donate between $500 and $4,999 toward membership and/or the museum’s annual fund. A hugely popular local social, there’s been much talk about this year’s highly-anticipated spectacular, but due to its top-secret nature, little has been revealed about the evening – that is, until now.

“(100/100) started out as an idea to host 100 dinner parties around the community among the Patron Circle members, to invite their friends into their home to discuss the benefits they enjoy within the Patron Circle,” said Kevin Borland, a Patron Circle Steering committee member who’s helped plan 100/100. “Certain years, (the Speed Museum) picked 100 different paintings within the collection and a different likeness of that would be at each individual party. And when (guests) get to the main party (at the Speed), they can learn a little bit more about the artist and kind of what their intentions were.”

Founded in 2009, 100/100 provides money for educational programming and outreach efforts of the museum, which is a vital resource in arts education for the region, serving more than 30,000 school children annually. In years past, throughout the town, 100/100 would kick off with 100 themed dinner soirees featuring artwork from the Speed collection, such as Marc Chagall’s “Waiting (L’Attente)” and Vito Acconci’s “People’s Wall.” The parties would then conclude with all hosts and attendees arriving at the museum for an evening filled with world-class art, entertainment and dancing.

“What comes to mind is it’s totally unexpected and, that to me, makes it such a fun event,” said Cheri Collis White, who has attended every 100/100 event since its inception and is a member of the Speed’s newly-formed Board of Governors. “I don’t know what I’m going to expect as I climb those stairs to the museum and walk into the entrance. It’s that element of surprise that makes it such a popular event. There’s been a lot of good buzz around the event, and I think this is a really great way to show the museum support. And, it’s my way of throwing my support around the museum before it closes for several years.”

In 2012, in honor of the three-year transformation about to occur at the Speed, 100/100 will experience a sort of reconfiguration, itself. For this year only, the typical dinner parties that accompany 100/100 will be postponed in order to hold the entire event at the Speed in celebration of its upcoming expansion. “We decided this year that with the party coinciding with the expansion kickoff that we really wanted to focus the party on the (Speed) building (inside) the building,” said Kirsten Popp Pfalzgraf, communications manager at the Speed Art Museum. “We have some unexpected surprises that will incorporate art into the event in a way we haven’t before. And you have to come in order to find out what that means.”

Presented with support by Wells Fargo Advisors, and with media sponsorship provided by The Voice-Tribune, this year’s 100/100 event will include music from DJ Jaleel Bunton, a member of the alternative rock band TV on the Radio, and artwork by Louisville artist Braylyn Stewart, with a projection of films by Ryan Daly showing in the Sculpture Court.

“I’m a young independent artist who’s been visiting the Speed since grade school, so for the museum to choose my work is extremely flattering,” said Stewart, whose artwork can be see at such places as the Americana Community Center and Shawnee Community Center. “I’ve been painting live events around Louisville for many years, but to be asked to do an installation at a Louisville landmark? How could I not say anything but ‘YES!’ I’m just very excited to be showing my work in such a revered museum.”

Beginning the 17th, Stewart will paint the entrance to the museum, including the glass walls and a portion of the sidewalk on the campus side of the museum. “I will also be (working during 100/100) inside the museum in a secret location with a surprise ending you have to see to believe,” he added.

Promised to leave attendees talking for years to come, the 100/100 event will culminate with the ultimate art experience. Following the awe-inspiring affair, the Brown-Forman Art After Dark: Lights Off will take place from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. “The other neat thing is that the party will continue on,” Borland said. “We used to end the party at about 11 p.m. or midnight (but this year) we’re going to open up Art After Dark. … It’s a party for (people) to attend at a very low ticket price. There will be dancing and the music will continue on, and it should be quite an event.”

The 100/100 fete and Art After Dark are taking place as part of a weekend of expansion kickoff activities, collectively titled “Lights Off/Future On,” throughout Sept. 21-23, in order to celebrate the beginning of the Speed’s unprecedented $50 million expansion project. Occurring over the next three years, the expansion is the largest capital project by an arts institution in Louisville to date. It will create a state-of-the-art space for larger special exhibitions, new contemporary galleries, a family education welcome center, indoor/outdoor café, museum shop and a multifunctional pavilion for performances, lectures and entertaining. Additionally, the new Art Park and public Piazza will be constructed for the display of sculpture that will engage University of Louisville students, faculty and museum visitors.

While the Speed is building new galleries and renovating old ones, it will lend art from its collections to other public facilities, including the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, the Frazier History Museum, Louisville Metro Hall and the Governor’s Mansion in Frankfort. Exhibitions organized by the Speed are also now touring the country and region.

“(The 100/100 event) is the perfect way to kick off this new era of the Speed with a celebration that is as momentous as this,” said Popp. “It’s really going to blow people’s socks off and make them just so excited about what is yet to come from the Speed.”

Tickets to 100/100 are free for Patron Circle members; $175 for non-members. The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. with cocktails and delectable edibles, and will conclude at 11 p.m.

For tickets and information, call 502.634.2704 or visit www.speedmuseum.org.

Throughout the weekend of Sept. 21-23, “Lights Off/Future On,” will feature a Public Groundbreaking on Friday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m., Family Fun Happenings on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., the Patron Circle’s annual 100/100 event from 7:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. and Brown-Forman Art After Dark: Lights Off on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. The weekend will conclude with a final public viewing day of the Speed on Sunday, Sept. 23, from noon until 5 p.m.

Museum hours through Sept. 23 are Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (open late); Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Galleries are closed on Monday and Tuesday. General admission to the Museum is $10, free for members.

  • Name…

    I am so humble that the speed art museam has chosen my son Braylyn Stewart. To take part in such a special event. I always told my son to follow his Dreams and one day it will pay off. This day has come. Braylyn is such am extremely gifted Artist .that loves his work. And love to talk & display it. This is truly am honor for my son.CONGRATS BRAYLYN!!!! and I will be there beaming with pride as always. Luv you mom.

    • patryce thornton

      I was so excited reading the story until I miss putting my name in my comment. I am Braylyn’s mother.