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Louisville’s Speed Art Museum Names New Director

Raphaela Platow, who led the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati for 14 years, will become the new director of the Speed Art Museum at the end of August.
Tina Gutierrez Arts Photography
Raphaela Platow, who led the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati for 14 years, will become the new director of the Speed Art Museum at the end of August.

The Speed Art Museum in Louisville has a new director.

Raphaela Platow will step into the role at the end of August, according to a news release from the museum. She comes to the Speed from the Contemporary Arts Center (CAC) in Cincinnati, where she was the director and chief curator for 14 years. 

At CAC, Platow is credited with establishing free admission for everyone, doubling the center’s annual operating budget and being an advocate for artists in the region.

Prior to that, Platow, who is also an art historian, held the role of chief curator and acting director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. She’s also been the international curator at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

In the release, Platow said she is “delighted to join the Speed team,” and she hopes to make it a place “where art, creativity, dialogue and reflection are the centerpiece.”

“The Speed is a renowned, encyclopedic art museum with a robust commitment to contemporary art and deep investment in the Louisville community and the region,” she said in the release.

She takes over for Stephen Reily, who has been director since 2017. His last day was Friday. 

A seven-member search committee, led by the Speed’s Board of Trustees chair, Roger Cude, selected Platow with the help of third-party firm Russell Reynolds Associates. 

“In addition to her nearly two decades of museum leadership, Raphaela brings to the Speed a deep passion for and knowledge of the art and culture of our region, and a proven commitment to accessibility and inclusion,” Cude said in the release. “It’s clear from her accomplishments in Cincinnati that Raphaela is uniquely equipped with the experience, skills, and vision to lead the Museum into the future, ensuring that it remains a dynamic, welcoming destination for diverse visitors of all walks of life.”

And what’s next for Reily?

He told WFPL that he “still has business interests,” such as a marketing company and a beauty and fashion app, and he’ll now have more time to focus on. 

“My arrival at the Speed taught me that you don't always have to know what's next,” Reily said.

Stephanie Wolf is a former LPM's Arts & Culture Reporter.

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