Bucket List: Louisville is for (Art) Lovers


Louisville is sort of an anomaly for the area where it’s located. It’s a southern city with tons of southern hospitality and charm, yes, but it’s also a cultural mecca, featuring world-class arts similar to those found in big cosmopolitan cities, like New York City and Chicago. For art lovers visiting or living in Louisville, there are countless opportunities to explore the arts – from the performing kind to the fine. Want to know more about where to find some of the best work in Louisville? Check out the great places below.

Actors Theatre of Louisville

Located in Louisville is one of the best regional theater companies in the entire world – Actors Theatre of Louisville (ATL) – home to three individual theater facilities and the prestigious annual Humana Festival. The theater was founded in the mid-1960s, when two well-known Louisville theaters – Actors, Inc. and Theatre Louisville – merged. In 1976, theater director Jon Jory founded the internationally acclaimed Humana Festival of New Plays, which features great works from promising young playwrights. Since then, ATL has become a theatrical powerhouse in the country. The theater presents about 30 productions in its spaces each year, and it has one of the highest per-capita season subscriptions of any theater in the world. Not only does the theater produce great plays, but it also has a great theater education program, which conducts classes and public outreach programs in the Louisville Community. Any theater lover should rejoice at getting the chance to attend a show at ATL. The theater has been the location of the premiers of several pivotal pieces of theater, including “The Gin Game,” “Crimes of the Heart” and “Dinner with Friends” – all of which have won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

The Speed Art Museum

The Speed Art Museum, the jewel in the crown of Louisville’s fine art scene, is currently closed for renovations. That’s good news, though, because when it reopens, it’s going to be on par with the best large fine art museums in the country. The Speed Museum holds a ton of art from a huge range of eras (spanning 6,000 years!). The Speed is the largest and oldest art institution in Kentucky, and it contains famous pieces from artists like Rembrandt, Rubens, Monet, Chagall, Matisse, Picasso, Cezanne, Klee, Cassatt and many, many more. One of the best parts about the Speed is that it offers art experiences – meaning visitors can enjoy things like concerts, the Art Sparks Interactive Family Gallery and the beloved Louisville event Art After Dark. After the renovation, Louisville residents can expect even more exciting amenities, like an indoor/outdoor café, a performance pavilion and a public art piazza. If paintings are more your thing than plays, you’ll find plenty to marvel at when you visit the Speed.

 The Louisville Orchestra

Music lovers rejoice! The Louisville orchestra, founded in 1937, is one of the southeast’s premier classical music organizations. The orchestra performs regularly at the state-of-the-art Kentucky Center for the Arts, as well as the Brown Theater. The Louisville Orchestra has made history many times. In 1947, it became the first symphony orchestra to own its own record label. In 1953, the orchestra was awarded $500,000 from the Rockefeller Foundation to commission and record new work by 20th-century composers. The Louisville Orchestra is so good that it tours the world to showcase its talents; the group has played music at places like the White House, the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall.

Image Source: Twitter @ATLouisville

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