March 15, 2016

Speed Art Museum reopens with a bang

By Madison Thompson–

For years, Louisville has waited with baited breath for the Speed Art Museum to reopen its doors to the public. Originally built in 1927, the building has been going under massive renovations for the past few years.

Now, finally, the Speed Art Museum reopened, kicking things off with a 30-hour celebration from March 12 to 13.

From the street, the building is deceptively small. There are tall ceilings and windows, letting natural light flood into the rooms. The museum is split into the newer and older parts. In order to get into the older part, you have to cross a glass bridge. The artwork is a little older, but the quality is still phenomenal.

The event featured several sub-events, including programming talks, concerts and performances. Additionally, there was an interactive, educational part of the opening.

Probably one of the most amazing things to see was the making of a World Peace Sand Mandala. Three Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang Center for Engaging Compassion created the work. In order to work with something as fine and fickle as sand, the monks wore masks so that they wouldn’t inhale the sand or exhale and ruin what they already accomplished. They arrived at three and had been working on it for nearly six hours, and they still weren’t done.

They deposited the sand using thin, metal rods, funnels, tubes and scrapers, called chak-pur. The sand is deposited by scraping the thin, metal rod against a funnel. Traditionally, the sand used isn’t dyed. Usually, crushed pieces of colored stone would be used to achieve the appropriate color. Everything is free-handed and created using exquisite detail.

After a few days, this exhibit will be taken to the Ohio River and will be given back to the earth.

The Speed Art Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday between the times of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Adult tickets are $12. Kids between the ages of 4 and 17 cost $8, senior citizens and military personnel cost $8. Children under 3 are free. In honor of the late Owsley Brown II, the Brown-Forman company has made a generous contribution allowing anyone to go for free on Sundays.

Photos by Madison Thompson / The Louisville Cardinal

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