But many faculty, staff and students will not even know it.
The Speed Art Museum opens this week, The Most Famous People in the World: Karsh 100, an exhibit featuring the iconic images of some of the world’s most famous actors, artists and statesmen taken by eminent photographer Yousuf Karsh. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston selected 100 images for a traveling exhibit from among the 150,000 negatives Karsh left from 15,312 sittings.
But many students, faculty and staff who pass by the museum on their way to class or work, won’t even think to stop in to see it. They barely notice the massive granite building on the northwest corner of Belknap Campus.
Kristin Gilbert, master teacher at the Speed, and Kassie Alderson, a May UofL graduate, intend to help change that.
They are building on an ongoing partnership between the Speed Museum and UofL that gives all students, faculty and staff a free membership to the museum but many are not aware of the benefit.
Gilbert is in charge of the museum’s adult programming. Alderson, a university and public programs fellow, helps her develop, implement and promote adult programs, including those that specifically relate to UofL and its students.
The two are developing special and ongoing programs to help new students discover firsthand the treasures housed at the Speed, Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum.
As an art history major, Alderson has had an inside view of the museum from her first days on campus.
I always wanted to work here, she said, and over the years she has been, among other things, a gallery attendant and Arts Sparks assistant for youth and families.
The museum is an incredible asset, Alderson said. Every art class I had, led to a trip to the museum, greatly integrating the real thing with my classes and really rounding out my university experience.
Alderson said she enjoys attracting other students to the museum’s galleries. Although the doors are open to everyone in the UofL community during normal hours, she and Gilbert plan special events, such as a recent Night at the Museum that was part UofL’s Winterfest for new and transfer students.
I was surprised how many of the students said that they hadn’t been here since their 4th grade field trips, even though we’re basically on their doorstep, Gilbert said. That’s something I’m really working to change — making sure that students know that the Speed is a free, welcoming resource for them visit.
The Karsh exhibit will run through June 27. The Speed also has a permanent collection that spans from 6,000-year-old Egyptian art to contemporary works.