Arts and Culture

Stephen Reily joined the Speed Art Museum in April 2017 as interim director, and on Monday morning, the museum announced Reily is extending his tenure as director until at least April 2020 — slashing the “interim” part of his title in the process.

Reily took the position after former director Ghislain D’Humieres made the decision to move back to France. Reily initially committed to 18 months at the Speed.

“This would have allowed the board to proceed with a national search process — searches like that take at least 12 months, so that gave us six months to settle things down and then search,” Reily said. “As that time got closer, things were going well. The museum was really hitting its stride and they asked if I would stay longer.”

Courtesy Speed Art Museum

Stephen Reily

“Stephen stepped in graciously to serve the Speed at a time of need,” said Martha Slaughter, chair of the Speed Art Museum Board of Trustees, in a release. “When he quickly brought it to life with a new strategic plan, careful financial planning, some key hires, and support for our incredible staff, the Trustees quickly sought a way to turn his tenure into something more permanent. Eighteen months into life in our new building, the Speed has developed its sense of place and purpose.”

Reily said he looks forward to pushing ahead with some of the unique programming the Speed has instituted within the last year.

“Right after I came in, we completed a new strategic plan with our key themes of inviting everyone to celebrate art and, in doing so, to generate sustainability and success, and we’ve seen that work,” Reily said.

He continued: “I launched our after-hours monthly events, each of which has attracted over a thousand people; we made ‘Southern Accent’ by far the most popular exhibit since the Speed’s reopening, in part by leaning into some of the issues that exhibit was all about — issues of race and history and culture, showing that a museum can really lead the community in building a strong community.”

Plans for 2018 include two major exhibits. “Women Artists in the Age of Impressionism,” running February through May, will be paired with other exhibits and programming under a year-long theme of “Celebrating Women.”

“Picasso to Pollock: Master Works for the Indiana University Museum,” opens in June and marks the beginning of a five-year partnership between the Speed Art Museum and Indiana University’s Eskenazi Museum of Art.

Ashlie Stevens is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.