Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft
|Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft|
|Location||West Downtown Louisville, Kentucky|
The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft (also referred to as KMAC [kay-mac]), located in Louisville, Kentucky's "Museum Row" in the West Main District of downtown, is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981 to continue the art and craft heritage of Kentucky through the support and education of craft artists and education of the public. The museum is supported in part by the Fund for the Arts and Kentucky Arts Council, a state agency of the Commerce Cabinet as well as many public and private donors.
Founded in 1981 by Phyllis George Brown, then First Lady of Kentucky and former Miss America, the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft was started to build interest in Kentucky's rich craft and art resources. With the help of Mary Shands, the start of the center began with ease.
In 1984 the organization moved into the lower level of a West Main Street building to have more space for things like a gift shop. When the move occurred the west district of downtown Louisville had low occupancy rates for the buildings. The location of several museums like the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft helped revitalize this area of downtown.
Since 1984 the organization has presented over 175 exhibitions, reaching approximately 65,000 viewers annually. By 1991 the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation has tried to be a leader in the community of preserving Kentucky's heritage in its arts and crafts. It has held several promotion events to help improve its goal.
Over ten years ago the organization recognized the importance of including educational programming as part of their mission. In 1990 the state's educational system had been restructured resulting in the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). The Museum's educational programs are tightly connected to the KERA goals of combining art education with other subjects such as history, social studies, mathematics and language arts. Over the years, their educational programming has expanded and its focus has continued to increase their work with schools in Jefferson County and throughout the state.
In January 2001 the organization purchased two adjacent buildings on West Main Street in the heart of Louisville's West Main Street Historic District. Built in the 1880s the building is a four-story cast iron structure with a pastel facade and giant windows. After renovation, the facility provides the organization with 28,500 square feet (2,650 m2) of interior space in which to operate, spread over four floors and a lower level.
The new facility increased the size and visibility of the Gallery Shop, with frontage on Main Street, and houses three exhibition galleries: the Steve Wilson Gallery, the Mary & Al Shands Gallery, and the Lindy & Bill Street Gallery. The Lindy & Bill Street Gallery, on the second floor overlooking Main Street, is rented for meetings and entertaining. The third floor houses the Education Center as well as a small south facing gallery and the fourth floor is used for administrative offices.
The Museum is in close proximity to the Kentucky Science Center, the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, the Frazier History Museum and the Muhammad Ali Center, which gives the nickname of the area as "Museum Row".