Kentucky Welcomes New 21c Museum Hotel, Speed Art Museum

Paint brushes
Photo by Cunningham

Kentucky is set to welcome a new 21c Museum Hotel in downtown Lexington, along with the Speed Art Museum, which is scheduled to open its doors to the public in Louisville on March 12.

The 21c Museum Hotel was built as a reuse of the Fayette National Bank Building, and combines contemporary design with historic "Beaux Arts International-inspired details." The 100-year-old building comprises 88 rooms, including 7,000 square feet of modern art exhibition space, as well as the Lockbox restaurant and bar.
Founded by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, contemporary art collectors and preservationists, 21c Lexington presents rotating solo and group exhibitions including a full roster of cultural programming curated by Chief Curator Alice Gray Stites. The property has six permanent site-specific installations, as well as paintings, sculptures, photography, videos, and films.  

The design team for the property was led by New York-based Design Architect Deborah Berke Partners and Pittsburgh-based Executive Architect Perfido Weiskopf Wagstaff + Goettel. The building’s concept includes exterior columns, marbled walls, Tennessee Pink marble flooring and vaulted ceilings with ornamental plaster patterns. 

For events, the hotel’s museum space can accommodate a range of events, from board retreats and intimate cocktail parties, to a reception-style wedding for 350 people. Also, the Main Gallery, a double-height room with historic arched windows connects with Gallery One, a flexible space that can be used for cocktail hour. 

Guestrooms at 21c Lexington offer a variety of setups, with some offering high ceilings, hardwood floors, custom furnishings and city views of Lexington. One of the most unique suites, the Skylight suite, has a large skylight above the living area providing plenty of natural light.  
For dining at the property there’s Lockbox, where Chef Jonathan Searle highlights Kentucky’s rich Southern heritage with carefully crafted cocktails and cuisine.

Rates for a Deluxe King start at $199. Visit

Speed Art Museum

Also in Kentucky, the Speed Art Museum has announced that it will reopen its doors to the public on March 12, and offer free admission to visitors on Sundays beginning March 20.  

The free Sunday admission, called “Owsley Sundays”, is being made possible by a $1 million contribution from Louisville’s corporate icon Brown-Forman as part of the Speed’s multi-million dollar capital campaign. The gift will allow anyone to visit the museum, free of charge, every Sunday for five years.    

“Owsley Sundays” is in honor of Owsley Brown II, who was chairman and CEO of Brown-Forman from 1993 to 2005. Owsley was one of Louisville’s most ardent arts patrons and firmly believed that "making art accessible to everyone was essential for both individual and the community’s well-being".

The Speed has been closed for three years in order to complete a $60 million renovation and expansion that will double the square footage of the original museum. The museum will celebrate its reopening with a ribbon-cutting at 10 am on March 12, and will include a celebration with 30 hours of non-stop music, performances, interactive activities and art provided by local artists, musicians and cultural partners. For a full schedule of activities, visit      

The Speed is the oldest and largest museum of art in Kentucky. It is located on the University of Louisville campus at 2035 South Third Street.

The museum’s hours will be Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm, and noon to 5 pm on Sunday. Adult admission is $12, and children ages 4 – 17, along with seniors and military personnel is $8. Children 3 and under are free. Additional costs for special exhibitions will vary.  Every Sunday is free (through 2021).