Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion at the Speed
At the Speed, our mission is to invite everyone to celebrate art, forever. An important part of inviting everyone is making sure that the Museum is a space in which all members of our community feel welcome and safe. Explore this page to learn more about the Speed’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion. As a public institution, we are always learning how to best serve those in our community, with the understanding that the work involved in changing and growing is never finished.
The Speed Art Museum commits to supporting cultural equity for all persons, regardless of ethnicity, race, color, national origin, age, different abilities, religion, marital or parental status, political affiliations or beliefs, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or socioeconomic status.
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Racial Equity in our Community
Originally published June 9, 2020
To our Speed Community:
Last week The Speed Art Museum reaffirmed that Black Lives Matter to us.
Today we also denounce the police violence that killed Louisville’s Breonna Taylor in her own home and David McAtee in the neighborhood he served. We mourn other recent killings, including those of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and the many (too many) victims of racial violence who preceded them. We stand with our Black neighbors and colleagues in their justified anger, pain, and fear as we also reaffirm our commitment to serve this wounded world, with art that helps us understand and rethink racism; with a place that offers a safe refuge for all; and with a collection and exhibition program that allows artists, including Black artists like Bert Hurley, Sam Gilliam, Bob Thompson, Ed Hamilton, and Ebony G. Patterson, to show us a way forward.
Ongoing protests are changing us all, and in recent days I have felt both a call for justice and a turn towards a deeper conversation, one that acknowledges and works to heal the legacy of racism and violence that began with slavery in North America over 400 years ago.
All leaders should acknowledge that racism is a structural part of life in the United States and that its harmful impact requires change in policing and criminal justice. It also requires changes in workforce and economic development, in education, in healthcare, and – yes – in the arts. Your opportunities and your lifespan should never be determined by your zip code or the color of your skin. Not in Louisville. Not in Kentucky. Not anywhere.
For most of their histories, art museums like the Speed did not acknowledge their role in addressing these issues, and as a result they were often viewed as unwelcoming and irrelevant.
At the Speed, we have been working to correct that history. In the artists whose work we exhibit and acquire, in the people we hire and promote, in using art to address critical topics like racism, and in the growing ways we serve a mission to “invite everyone to celebrate art, forever.” This IS our work; it is never done; we will make mistakes along the way; and we will be learning from others.
I commit the Speed to regularly and publicly sharing both its goals and its progress in:
• Employing Black colleagues at all levels of our organization;
• Collecting and exhibiting art that reflects the full diversity of our community;
• Supporting and engaging Black families and children through our educational and community outreach work;
• Engaging Black artists, scholars, and performers in our public programming;
• Hiring and supporting minority- and women-owned vendors and partners;
• Regularly educating and training our teams on implicit bias and all forms of discrimination; and
• Supporting Brooke Brown Barzun and Roger Cude, Chair and Chair-Elect of our Board of Trustees, and Anna Tatman, Chair of our Board of Governors, as they continue to diversify both groups.
I will publicly present our goals and current metrics on these commitments no later than the end of July.
The Speed’s Founder, Hattie Bishop Speed, was also the largest benefactor of Louisville’s Red Cross Hospital – created by Black doctors, it was the only local hospital that gave Black doctors admitting privileges, and the only local hospital where Black mothers could give birth. I look to their examples, and to others, as the Speed continues to become a better ally, and I myself work to be a better leader and person.
Speed Art Museum
We believe that all people can choose to go by the pronouns with which they are most comfortable. As a Museum, we are working to make our space more inclusive and affirming of how everyone wants to be called.
The majority of people use the pronouns “he/him” or “she/her,” but there is a growing population of people who choose to use “they/them” or another pronouns set. People who choose to use different pronouns may do so because they do not wish to use pronouns that imply a specific gender association, or potentially because they are nonbinary and identify as neither exclusively as a man or as a woman.
We find that sharing our pronouns normalizes the interaction, and creates a space in which our guests can feel safe in sharing their own.
All-gender restrooms are available on the second floor of our North Building, right outside the Modern and Contemporary gallery. These restrooms are available during all public and private events as well as during regular Museum hours.
We encourage all guests to use the restroom in which they are most comfortable.
Professional Personal Care Attendants are admitted to the Museum free of charge.
The restrooms located on the second floor of the North Building are lockable and provide more room for guests who require assistance, but all restrooms are ADA compliant.
Thanks in part to a generous donation from Brown-Forman and the support of our members, Museum admission is FREE every Sunday from 12 – 5 pm through 2021.
Through our new Speed for All Membership, the Museum offers income-based admission and family membership benefits for all eligible guests.
As a public institution, the Speed Art Museum is compliant with all regulations put forth by the American with Disabilities Act, and we strive to make our building accessible for those with different abilities.
All restrooms at the Speed are wheelchair accessible, and we have three elevators throughout the galleries for guest use, as well as an elevator within the Speed parking garage, wherein accessible parking is available on every floor.
Should you need one, wheelchairs are available to borrow at Guest Relations.
The Speed has been outfitted with Visual Impairment Beacons with the assistance of Kentucky Printing House for the Blind. Braille and large print appears on all location signage.
Assisted hearing devices are available at Guest Relations for special events and programs as well as for all Speed Cinema screenings.
Service animals, as defined by the ADA, are welcome throughout the Speed. Service animals are required to be housebroken and under the handler’s control while in the Museum.
Museum Maps and Self Guides are available in Spanish at Guest Relations.
Non English-speaking guests can communicate with Guest Relations staff via a phone interpretive service.
Lightweight, portable Docent Stools are located throughout the galleries. Please feel free to carry them with you for seating during your visit.
Benches, chairs, and couches are also available at points throughout the galleries, should you need to rest or reflect.
If you would prefer to use a wheelchair or a cane, they are available to borrow at Guest Relations.
Our Guest Relations and Security staff are happy to direct you to quiet areas of the Museum, should you need them.
There are also complimentary sensory earmuffs for guests to check out at the front desk.
Parents and Children
We welcome children of all ages to the Speed! Please feel free to bring a stroller or to borrow one of ours from Guest Relations. You are encouraged to explore the galleries at your own pace and in the ways that best fit you and your family’s needs.
Young guests will also enjoy Art Sparks, our interactive, hands-on learning gallery for all ages, where the exhibits encourage adults and children alike to connect with art and each other!
Parents are welcome to breastfeed in all public spaces throughout the Museum.
Should you prefer more privacy, both a curtained area of the women’s restroom and a private lactation room for breast or bottle-feeding parents are available in the Satterwhite Hallway on the First Floor, next to the African Gallery.
Our lactation room is lockable and contains a fully equipped changing station, an arm chair for nursing, and a refrigerator for bottled milk.
Changing stations are located in both first floor bathrooms as well as the lower level bathroom next to Art Sparks.