Celebrating The Co-Chairs

The Speed Opening Gala, taking place March 5, 2016, is perhaps the most looked-forward to event of the year and will serve as this year’s Speed Ball. Guests will have the opportunity to explore the museum and discover its richest new offerings as well as returning timeless classics. There will be a myriad of lounge areas that will aid in the event’s celebration of the wondrous culture of Louisville.

Musical performances, curated by Jecorey “1200” Arthur, will accent the evening and feature an array of styles and genres that will not only complement the artistry of the museum but also speak to the diversity of the city’s musical landscape.

One performance in particular is sure to dazzle guests at the event. The Louisville Orchestra and Louisville Ballet will be collaborating on an absolutely singular piece that will go down in history.

And, of course, no evening would be complete without the gourmet food. Susan Hershberg and Wiltshire Pantry in tandem with the Speed will be hosting some of the area’s premier chefs to provide the eats of the evening.

But of course, none of this would be possible without the hard work of the event’s marvelous co-chairs. We spoke with each of them to learn why they support the Speed and see it as so integral in the community.


Co-Chair Douglas Riddle.

Co-Chair Douglas Riddle.

The Speed Art Museum has a significant impact on our city, and I am very proud to be an active supporter of its mission. At the Speed, art comes to life by reflecting our life, our past and vision for the future. The Speed provides that unique place to experience and open up the creativity that lies within each and every one of us. The Speed continues to be involved in our city through its outreach and education programs for our younger generation. These programs have been instrumental in introducing and getting our next generation to unlock their creativity while opening up their minds to undiscovered potential. Exciting new elements at the museum like the cinema and Art Park are sure to bring in young visitors who have never been before! It will be the place to meet, to attend events, to experience the incredible architecture and to just have fun.
-Douglas Riddle

Co-Chairs Fran and Matt Thornton.

Co-Chairs Fran and Matt Thornton.

The Speed is the only art museum in this region. It gives people the opportunity to explore the world through art.  Art is an essential element in the development of children, helping them grow their imagination and creativity.  The Speed has incredible programming for children.  Louisville is very lucky to have the Speed and Art Sparks.  We are counting down the days until it opens.
-Fran Thornton

Honorary Chairs Brooke and Matthew Barzun. Photo courtesy of Darren Gerrish.

Honorary Chairs Brooke and Matthew Barzun. Photo courtesy of Darren Gerrish.

Most of all, the Speed will be an expression of the magic of our city and state – a confluence of so many American strains braided into one. When it reopens its doors in March, it will be a great breath of new life into an already thriving arts scene. It will stand strong next to its peers, but most importantly, it will be a resource worthy of the great community it serves.
-Brooke Barzun

Co-Chairs Viki and Paul Diaz.

Co-Chairs Viki and Paul Diaz.

“We’re really supportive of the Speed’s programming, in particular, their renewed approach to involving the entire community in their programming. The re-opening of the Speed has a renewed focus on bringing the community into the Speed and taking the Speed out into the community and collaborating with other arts organizations while bringing the arts to those who may not get to engage with the arts on such a regular basis.”
-Viki Diaz

Co-Chair Heather Kleisner.

Co-Chair Heather Kleisner.

I moved to Louisville almost 18 years ago as I was enthralled by the art and music scene that was prospering in the city and was abuzz around the country. What I came to find was not only a rich cultural scene but a supportive and involved community that was in a large part responsible for its success and development. I quickly decided to make Louisville my adopted hometown, and its community has become family, it’s cultural centers my living room. And at the center of my “home” has always been the Speed. I grew up with a great respect and connection to art, especially contemporary art, and I appreciate art’s ability to inform perception and create conversation. The Speed is the nexus of the art world in this region; having it elevated architecturally to meet the community’s engagement and enthusiasm for art is not only appropriate but a triumph that deserves to be celebrated. Therefore, when a grand opening celebration was being planned, I immediately threw myself into the project, maybe even a little begging was involved ;). I wanted to be a part of history – this opening will never be forgotten and will be the beginning of an even more exciting chapter for art and artists in this region and beyond. I also wanted to celebrate the incredible group of individuals who worked tirelessly to make this next chapter of the Speed a reality. The best way for me to honor them was to join the incredible team putting the Opening Gala together. Just when I think I couldn’t get any luckier, Louisville, thankfully, always proves me wrong. The entire planning process has been a celebration in and of itself, and this will be evident to all those in attendance on the 5th of March.
-Heather Kleisner