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Speed Art Museum announces promotion of Kim Spence, creation of senior leadership position


The Speed Art Museum has added a key position to its senior leadership team and announced today that Kim Spence has been promoted to Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of Works on Paper for the Museum. Spence will begin her new role at the Speed effective immediately.

“Kim has been a much-valued curator at the Speed for almost 30 years and has earned both vast institutional knowledge and deep respect that will serve her well in this new role,” said Speed Director Stephen Reily. “I am thrilled that she will be joining the Speed’s leadership team during such a dynamic time.”

As the Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Spence will oversee and implement policies and procedures pertaining to collection care and stewardship, oversee and implement the Speed Art Museum’s year-round schedule of exhibitions and installations, and supervise the Museum’s Registration and Preparation Departments to further the mission of the Museum. She will also continue to serve as the Speed’s Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.

“I am pleased to take on this new role at the Speed, and I look forward to working with my curatorial colleagues to build and implement an exciting program of exhibitions and collection installations moving forward,” said Spence.

Kim Spence (Photo from Speed Art Museum)

A Kentucky native, Kim Spence has over three decades of museum experience. Since joining the curatorial staff of the Speed Art Museum in 1991, she has held a variety of positions, including Associate Curator and Curator of Collections Research and Special Projects. In 2014 she was named Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. She also oversees the African, Ancient, and Native American collections at the Museum. During her tenure at the Speed, Kim has organized numerous exhibitions, including Loose Nuts: Bert Hurley’s West End Story; Sinners, Satyrs, and Saints: German “Little Master” Prints from the Collection of Malcolm Bird; and America at Work, The Rediscovered Imperial Whiskey Collection. In 2017, she collaborated with guest curator Dr. Christian Feest to present Picturing American Indian Cultures: The Art of Kentucky’s Frederick Weygold. Spence also oversaw the Louisville presentation of such traveling exhibitions as Rodin, Masterworks from the Albertina, and Jacob Lawrence: The Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman Series of 1938-40.

In 2010, Spence worked with Second Story Interactive Studios, an award-winning interactive media company, to create a unique interactive gallery kiosk to accompany the exhibition A Book of Prayers: The Medieval Bestseller. This interactive experience offered visitors the opportunity to take an in-depth exploration of a fifteenth-century Book of Hours in the Speed’s collection by examining the function of the manuscript, its makers and their techniques, as well as the meaning of the manuscript’s illuminations. It was the first such interactive experience ever offered by the Museum.

In addition to researching and cataloguing the Museum’s paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and non-western collections, Spence also managed a three-year collection review and deaccessioning program, overseeing the scholarly assessment of the Museum’s 14,000-object permanent collection. She has demonstrated her unyielding commitment to both the preservation and the growth of the institution and its collections and will continue to support and further the Museum’s mission in her new role.

The Senior Leadership team at the Museum includes: Stephen Reily, Director; Evan McMahon, Chief of Staff to the Director; Abby Shue, Chief Advancement and Programming Officer; Toni Carver Smith, Chief Operating and Finance Officer; Kim Spence, Director of Collections and Exhibitions and Curator of Works on Paper for the Museum; Steven Bowling, Chief Marketing Officer; Shannon Karol, Director of Education; and Emma Pridham, Human Resources.

From Speed Art Museum


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