Greater Louisville has a diverse and thriving art scene. East Market Street in the NULU neighborhood has developed into the region’s main Art Zone. The area is lined with galleries that specialize in painting, photography, sculpture, and the avant garde. At the other end of downtown Louisville, art lovers will find textiles at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and glass artists at the Flame Run Gallery. In addition, the Mellwood Art Center in the Clifton neighborhood is home to many artist studios and exhibitions.
“What is unique about Louisville is that it has the performing arts, it has the ballet, it has actor’s theatre, and it has a big list of quality galleries,”
– Brook White, owner of Flame Run Gallery
“What is unique about Louisville is that it has the performing arts, it has the ballet, it has actor’s theatre, and it has a big list of quality galleries,” says Brook White, owner of Flame Run Gallery. “There are so many good galleries and such a range of things to see. You also have the art fairs. There is the St. James Court Art Fair, the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair, and other weekend events. There are just so many different opportunities around town to stumble upon great art.”
White credits the First Friday Trolley Hop, a monthly event that allows Greater Louisville residents to park their cars and ride a trolley to the various galleries, for raising the profile of the local art scene. He also says that Greater Louisville residents and political leaders have shown repeatedly that culture is a prior in this community. The Speed Art Museum is closed for three years as it undergoes a $44 million renovation. Also, Gill Holland, an investor credited with much of the success of the NULU neighborhood, has announced plans to build affordable artists’ studios in the Portland neighborhood.
Area’s Major Art & Craft Fairs
Cherokee Triangle Art Fair
Always planned for the April weekend before the Kentucky Derby, this well-loved local art fair tells us spring is here! Set in a charming neighborhood, the Cherokee Triangle Art Fair hosts live music, art exhibits, a plant sale, great food and a children’s activities tent for family fun.
September Art Fair @ Mellwood
Fine Art & Craft Show
Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center
The September Art Fair @ Mellwood features culinary arts, wine tasting, live entertainment, children’s art/craft area and a “Gallery Row,” – showcasing the best of Louisville’s gallery scene. Free on-site parking.
Art in Speed Park
Speed Park in Sellersburg, IN
Filled with more than 100 of the nation’s finest artisans, delectable food, and the region’s top musical artists. Art in Speed Park has been established as one of Kentuckiana’s favorite art shows, and is considered a true gem among the arts community.
St. James Court Art Show
(St. James Court, Fourth and Magnolia) in Old Louisville
Regarded by many as the best fine art and design show in the country, the St. James Court Art Show celebrates more than half of a century of welcoming juried selections of fine arts and crafts from more than 650 national artists.
Art Museums & Organizations
700 W. Main St.
Housed in 21c Museum Hotel, the 21c Museum collection features both emerging artists and acclaimed international artists within its 9,000 square foot exhibit space. This stunning collection of cutting-edge art inspired the naming of the property and influenced the creation of the museum and hotel (which was awarded Best of Year 2006 by Interior Design magazine). Monthly special events include concerts, film screenings, poetry readings and many events are free and open to the public. Gift Shop open Mon.-Sun., 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft
715 W. Main St.
The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft has supported the art and craft heritage of Kentucky for more than 30 years. In addition to its permanent collection, exhibits are presented in three gallery spaces. The Gallery Shop features work in all media, from folk art to furniture. The Education Center provides special needs workshops, summer art camps, community center programs, school partnership workshops, Girl Scout workshops, child, teen and adult workshops and craft artist demonstrations. Tues.- Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center
1860 Mellwood Ave.
Formerly the Fischer Packing Company on Mellwood, the Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center encompasses 360,000 sq. ft. of former industrial space that has been converted into more than 200 artist studios, art galleries and shops, restaurants, office spaces, rehearsal spaces for theater and dance groups and special event venues. Open seven days a week, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
The Speed Art Museum
2035 S. Third St.
Established in 1927, the Speed Art Museum is Kentucky’s oldest and largest art museum with more than 14,000 pieces in its permanent collection. Its extensive collection spans 6,000 years, ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary art. In September of 2012, The Speed broke ground on a $50 million, 200,000-square foot expansion. The museum will be closed for approximately three years until its re-opening in late 2015.
Actors Theatre of Louisville
316 W. Main St.
Box Office – 584-1205
The Tony-winning Actors Theatre has captured the hearts of audiences in Louisville and across the country for nearly five decades and has played a major role in revitalizing American playwriting.
Derby Dinner Playhouse
525 Marriott Dr.
Dinner Playhouse is one of the largest dinner theaters in the country, offering live-stage productions and a plentiful buffet. Derby Dinner presents mainstage shows running Tuesday through Sunday year-round, in addition to concerts and children’s musical theater productions.
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts
501 W. Main St.
Administrative Offices – 562-0100
Tickets – 584-7777
For more than two decades, The Kentucky Center has taken the lead as the state’s premier performing arts center, and home to such resident groups as the Louisville Ballet, Kentucky Opera, Louisville Orchestra, PNC Broadway Across America-Louisville and Stage One Children’s Theater. Its own Kentucky Center Presents performances bringing in such acclaimed performers as Lily Tomlin, Lyle Lovett, k.d. lang and The Paul Taylor Dance Company, along with world music, jazz, family programming, bluegrass, comedy and more. Its three theaters range in size from 139 seats to 2,400, and host everything from international performers to local theater companies. The Kentucky Center also manages the beautifully renovated historic Brown Theatre at 315 W. Broadway.
625 S. Fourth St.
The magnificently renovated 1928 Spanish Baroque movie theater hosts numerous concerts, plays, comedians, children’s performances, and a summer movie classics series.
Major Performing Arts Groups
323 W. Broadway St., Ste. 601
The well-respected regional opera company presents top-quality productions with international stars performing with local talent.
315 E. Main St.
Box Office- 583-2623
As the official state ballet of Kentucky, the ballet offers performances to more than 100,000 people each year, with 65 world premiere ballets to its credit and a repertoire of nearly 150 works by choreographers such as Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Paul Taylor and David Parsons. The Louisville Ballet’s educational programs reach more than 18,000 school children annually. All performances are in The Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall.
323 W. Broadway St., Ste. 700
Tickets – 587-8681
The Louisville Orchestra’s full-time ensemble performs a wide variety of concerts and is also the resident performing group for the Louisville Ballet and the Kentucky Opera. The Orchestra is known for performing a wide variety of musical series, including Classics and Coffee Concerts (classical music), the Louisville Pops (popular music), OrKIDStra and ROARchestra (performed at the Louisville Zoo).
PNC Broadway Across America-Louisville
611 Main St.
The “Broadway Series” is almost a household name after more than two decades of bringing exciting, big-name Broadway musical productions to town. Performances are held at The Kentucky Center’s Whitney Hall or The Louisville Palace.