This week, I spoke with The Speed Art Museum’s Director of Corporate Relations and Special Events, Jenna Maddux, along with Vanessa Castle, manger of development for The Speed’s pARTnership programs, to learn more about the highly-anticipated 2013 Speed Ball.
This year’s spring gala will be held March 2 at The Gillespie, marking the first Speed Ball held outside The Speed Art Museum in the event’s 40-year history. A hot-ticket event, the black tie-white tie celebration is routinely a sell-out, so early ticket purchase is strongly advised.
LORI KOMMOR: Though The Speed Museum is currently closed for the construction of a major addition, how do you plan for the community to stay in touch with the museum?
VANESSA CASTLE: Through our Speed About Town programming, we are partnering with other organizations in the community to take programs and events outside the physical walls of the museum. Many of our events will take place at the Frazier History Museum, our “home away from home” while our galleries are closed.
We are also developing a Speakers Bureau program to train our staff and pARTnership volunteers to share information about The Speed and our expansion project with community organizations. Additionally, we are working hard to utilize social media outlets to keep the community informed about the expansion and our current activities.
KOMMOR: The 2013 Speed Ball is being held off Speed premises, at The Gillespie. Revered as Louisville’s premier ball, what great things are in store to ensure patrons have the same experience as in years past?
CASTLE: The Ball Committee and museum staff are taking great care to ensure that, even though the ball is being held off-site for the first time, our guests will continue to have a wonderful experience. The committee is working especially hard to guarantee an elegant and beautiful evening. We have invited Indigo back as our entertainment for the evening, based on the rave reviews we heard from last year’s ball and feel certain that guests will again enjoy an energetic performance and fun atmosphere.
JENNA MADDUX: We will also be continuing the now popular tradition of featuring one of our sponsors, The Glenview Trust Company, in a lounge space where guests can relax and take a break from dancing.
KOMMOR: This year is also unique in terms of your dual spirit sponsors, Brown-Forman and Heaven Hill. Any exciting news you can share with us about this unprecedented partnership?
MADDUX: I can’t tell you how thrilled we are to have these two companies partner together as Presenting Sponsors of the ball. Both Brown-Forman and Heaven Hill Distilleries have been incredibly loyal benefactors of The Speed for the past many years, both through generous sponsorships as well as in supporting the museum through company representation on our Board of Trustees. In fact, the proposal to form a joint partnership for the ball was spearheaded by two members of our board, Heaven Hill’s COO, Allan Latts, and Brown-Forman’s VP and Global Director of Design, Eric Doninger, who are our Board Chairman and Vice Chairman, respectively.
On the night of the ball, each company will be highlighted with an exclusive bar featuring their own products and will also have the opportunity to target specific brand representation with featured specialty cocktails passed on serving trays.
KOMMOR: There is the traditional Dinner/Dancing ticket available, but there is also Friends of the Speed. What’s the best way to find out more information regarding tickets, and how can they be purchased?
MADDUX: The Friends of the Speed portion of the ball begins at 9 p.m. and includes cocktails, dessert and dancing. This part of the evening is always a popular option, and tickets may be purchased by calling Vanessa at The Speed at 502.637.6363.
KOMMOR: Can you share with us the details of the special tribute The Speed Ball will pay to its past chairs this year?
CASTLE: This year marks the 40th Annual Speed Art Museum Ball and as such, in early discussions with our Creative Director, Douglas Riddle, and two members of our Board of Trustees, Mary Helen Myles and Ann Wells, we wanted to find a way to recognize the volunteers who have played an integral part in helping the museum reach this milestone. In a later meeting with Tracy Blue, our Ball Chair, she wholeheartedly agreed and thought it important to honor the past chairs. The decision was made to acknowledge past chairs and co-chairs on the reply card of the formal invitation, and also to recognize each of these individuals that attend the ball with special signage on their dinner table.
MADDUX: We are incredibly grateful for the commitment and enthusiasm of our past and current chairs, especially as we have personally had the opportunity to work closely with a number of them. They have played a crucial role in bringing the museum’s most important fundraising event to its 40th year, and we are thankful for the role they have each played as ambassadors of The Speed.