Louisville's creative, clever minds may all think to the beat of different drums, but they all think alike when it comes to supporting and promoting the city's huge arts scene, which includes dozens of museums, galleries, theaters and festivals.
As impressive as Louisville’s artsy offerings may be, they would never succeed without the sustained energy of arts-minded residents, who not only get the word out to visitors about all the creative experiences the city has to offer, but strongly support the scene themselves by consistently showing up in droves for events and performances.
Museums and Art Galleries
Strong and passionate arts organizations, such as Louisville Visual Art Association, founded in 1909, and LOOK, a consortium of approximately 45 fine arts galleries, help keep the city's creative vibe going strong. As for the state’s oldest and largest museum, Louisville is home to the circa 1927 Speed Art Museum that features attractions such as an interactive area for kids entitled Hands-On Art Room. The museum also has exhibits such as a replica 17th-century Dutch kitchen and a teepee in the Native American Collection.
Meanwhile, visitors may admire works by more than 600 Kentucky and regional artists at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, which opened in 1981 on Museum Row on Main. In addition to exhibition and retail areas, the museum offers many educational programs for both children and adults, including hands-on workshops and summer camps.
Additional museums in the area include the Frazier History Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, and the Muhammad Ali Center. For a complete listing of museums and galleries, visit www.looklouisvilleart.com.
Patrons of performing arts in Louisville are greeted with hundreds of opportunities to experience world-class theater, music and dance. For example, at least 200,000 guests take in the more than 500 downtown performances each year by Actors Theatre of Louisville, which presents about 20 productions annually.
Actors Theatre is also responsible for the Humana Festival of New American Plays, which has been entertaining the community since 1980. The festival, sponsored by the Humana Foundation, includes full-length plays, one-act productions, monologues and other performances.
In addition, the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts features live events, often setting the stage for some of the area's most popular performers, including the Louisville Orchestra, Kentucky Opera and Louisville Ballet.
Science and Nature
The Louisville Science Center is located on Museum Row and is Kentucky’s largest hands-on science museum. It was founded in 1871 and more than 500,000 people are expected to visit the attraction in 2012. In fact, more students in Kentucky take field trips to the science center than to any other destination.
One reason is that a hands-on interactive area called KidZone features six educational activity areas for children ages 7 and younger. Louisville Science Center also houses a four-story IMAX theater where 3 million people have seen at least one of the nearly 50 films shown there.
The Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest features both an arboretum and a natural area, with the arboretum showcasing plant collections, walking paths, a visitors center, café, education workshops and four lakes. The natural area – or research forest – has a beech-maple forest, several hiking trails, bicycle trails and observation towers. Bernheim’s is open from 7 a.m. to sunset every day except Christmas and New Year’s, and many school group activities are booked each year.
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