Louisville’s Art Museums: So Much More Than You Think

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Museums--maybe you’re an aficionado and maybe you only ever associate them with grade school field trips. Even the most seasoned of Louisvillians with extensive knowledge of our city’s culture and art history probably haven’t been to every single art museum in the area. And in a city with an artistic presence as broad and diverse as that of Louisville’s, it can be even harder to choose a museum to explore on a Sunday afternoon when you aren’t really sure what you’re looking for. Never fear--this is your guide to all things art museum in Louisville, whether you’re in search of some classic art or a quirky good time. Especially in Louisville, museums are the farthest thing from boring, so check out this lineup next time you need a relaxing weekend activity, a unique date spot, or just something you haven’t tried yet. Let us know in the comments if we missed anyone!

 

1. 21C Museum Hotel: for art with a side of thought

 

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

Your expectation of the average art museum might be standing silently in front of a painting a la Ferris Beuller’s Day Off--pretty, maybe, but maybe a little stuffy. Come to the 21C Museum Hotel on West Main Street if you want to change that impression forever. With a collection of art pieces including sculptures, video, photography, paintings, digital art and more that is refreshed periodically, these exhibits exude intelligent thought and social consciousness. The current collection includes digital photography display “Troubling Beauty: Myth and Metaphor in Contemporary Costume Drama” by American artist Cindy Sherman, multi-media display “Transporting Transformation: Cuba, In and Out” by various Cuban American artists including José Toirac and Sandra Ramos, and much more. Don’t forget about the famous 21C red penguins; you’re sure to run into them all over the place. Don’t forget--the museum is open 24 hours a day. Get your fix anytime.

 

21C Museum Hotel

700 W Main St

Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 217-6300

www.21cmuseumhotels.com/louisville

 

2. Asia Institute Crane House: for a touch of culture

 

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Image courtesy of cranehouse.org

 

Many are familiar with the typical art museum experience--usually some paintings, a few sculptures, and maybe some photography thrown in. At Crane House on South Third Street, you can broaden that perspective a little and look through the lens of different cultures and view artistic modes you might not have experienced before. From displays of multiple styles of calligraphy to actual imported-from-China Cultural Revolution posters circa 1966-1976, this museum is beautiful, eye-opening and educational on a multitude of levels.

 

Asia Institute Crane House

1244 S. Third St.

Louisville , KY 40203

(502) 635-2240

www.cranehouse.org/index.php


 

3. The Glassworks Building: for a hands-on experience

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

Does your idea of beautiful, must-see art lean a little more towards sculpture than painting? When a place like The Glassworks Building is situated right on West Market Street, it’s easy to get your three-dimensional fix. With a display of flameworked and flat glass pieces on display from local and regional artists and craftspeople, this museum is both uniquely creative and particularly Louisvillian. And what makes it even better? Not only can you place custom orders for items like wedding cake toppers, cocktail glasses, platters, and more, classes are also available for patrons who want to do more than just look. Reserve the space for a special event, call to take part in a class, or simply spend part of your afternoon seeing all that Glassworks has to offer.

 

Mark Payton Glass Center

815 W Market St.

Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 992-3270

paytonglasscenter.com/


 

4. Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft: for a taste of the artistic process

 

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

The Kentucky Museum, also conveniently located on West Main Street, describes itself via official website as on a mission to “explore craft emphasizing the techniques, materials and process of creative expression”--and after even a single visit, you’re sure to agree. The museum offers beautiful exhibits of Kentucky regional folk art, contemporary crafts, competition pieces, and more, and is particularly invested in raising awareness about art’s place in society. With three floors of exhibits and loads of things to see on each of those floors, the Kentucky Museum is nothing less than a great time with a great motivation behind it. You’ll be inspired, trust us. (There’s also an amazing shop inside.)


 

Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft

715 West Main Street

Louisville, KY 40202

(502) 589-0102

www.kmacmuseum.org/



 

5. Edenside Gallery: for an eclectic (and sparkly) art experience

 

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

When an art museum has received no less than ten Best of Louisville awards, you know it just might be worth a visit. Check out the collection of multi-media three-dimensional pieces, including clay, fiber, wood, and glass, oil paintings, and an extensive collection of artisan jewelry and antique engagement rings if you need a little sparkle. Need a new spot to get some seriously unique gifts for a bridal registry or other occasion? They’ve got that too. Bardstown Road is pretty packed with worthy spots, but Edenside Gallery can certainly hold its own.

 

Edenside Gallery

1422 Bardstown Road

Louisville, Kentucky 40204

(502) 459-2787

www.edensidegallery.com/home.html


 

6. Louisville Visual Art Association: for a little bit of everything (and for all ages)

 

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

Trips to even the most unique of art museums can sometimes be a challenge for families with children--and sometimes, the good old walk-and-observe just isn’t your speed. Enter the Louisville Art Association, Kentucky’s oldest art organization, dedicated to providing services, classes, and opportunities for exhibition to local artists across the Louisville area. Come view one of the gorgeous exhibitions by local artists or take part in one of the events and classes, including photography and woodworking, for both adults and children. This place is truly one of a kind--and does a lot of good for Louisville artists and art lovers alike.

 

Louisville Visual Art Association

131 W. Main Street

Louisville, Kentucky 40202

(502) 235-3088

www.louisvillevisualart.org/


 

7. Tim Faulkner Gallery--for modern art (and a bit of a walk)

 

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

Recently relocated to the Warehouse District of Louisville and now situated on always-entertaining Portland Avenue, part of what makes this gallery so appealing is the size of its space. The building itself measures 25,000 square feet and boasts galleries of national, international, and local artists, as well as musicians and performers of all kinds. They even have studio space for a maximum of twelve artists. Whether you love to look at art or are in the business of creating it, never forget about the Tim Faulkner gallery; it’s just too big, and too amazing, to miss.

 

Tim Faulkner Gallery

1512 Portland Ave

Louisville, KY 40203

(502) 389-0347

http://http://timfaulknergalleryart.com/


 

8. Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center

 

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Image courtesy of facebook.com

 

Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to move from place to place in search of every kind of artistic expression you can imagine. And sometimes--often--you need to have it all in one place. And that’s what the Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center on Mellwood Avenue is for (and a whole lot more). With over 200 artists’ studios, galleries, specialty stores, office space, rehearsal spaces for theatre and dance, event rooms, a fitness center and even a cafe, this place is an incredible resource for anyone with a love for art--and that goes for art of absolutely any variety. Come to one of the many art fairs, festivals, or music events held in the 360,000 square foot space, or drop by to see in person everything Mellwood has to offer. You can’t possibly be disappointed.

 

Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center

 

About Silvana Hill
I am a soon-to-be junior journalism student at Northern Kentucky University with a passion for writing and editing. I love exploring the city and seeing what there is to discover and do.
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