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Venable Confident About Speed Fundraising Campaign

The director of the Speed Art Museum is confident his organization can complete its capital campaign by the end of this year.The Speed has quietly been raising money toward a $57 million goal for two years. On Friday, the public phase of the campaign began with $31 million already raised. Director Charles Venable says it's likely the remaining funds can be raised through matching grants and individual donations.The money will fund the first phase of an expansion and renovation project. Work on a new driveway for the museum will begin this summer. And Venable says if all goes according to plan, construction on a new building will begin months later."We hope that phase one, which we would like to start in 2012, we want that to be finished and have the building turned over to us in 2015 and we would probably move into that in early 2016 and open to the public. After that we could turn our attention to the other parts of that master plan," he says.The second phase involves renovating the current museum building. The third calls for another, smaller building to be erected. The final two phases will cost an additional $22 million.Venable says the new building will also be able to hold larger contemporary art projects, and the renovations will bring changes to the Speed's collection.Venable says the campaign is the largest attempted by a Kentucky arts organization, and it's an ambitious project, especially given the economic downturn. But, he further says the Speed has not faced the difficulties other arts organizations have."We're very prudent in the way we manage this institution. I'm very pleased that we're not one of those organization that's at risk in Louisville. We have been balancing our budget for years. WE have no accumulated debt, which is a problem with some of the organizations people are talking about in town. We carry no debt whatsoever."

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.