Penny Peavler is a champion for Louisville’s burgeoning arts and culture scenes. As president and CEO of the Frazier History Museum, Peavler has helped refine the museum’s focus from an arms museum to a well-rounded blend of historical and cultural exhibitions that attract a broader audience.
She recently joined the Imagine Greater Louisville 2020 initiative, which was formed by the city’s top arts advocates to create a longterm plan on growing our arts, culture and creativity. The group has three objectives: to connect the dots between the arts and the community’s priorities; to encourage artists and organizations to participate in the vision for a stronger community; and to inspire more investment in the creativity and diversity of the arts.
“The arts and culture in Louisville are already more inclusive and diverse than ever before, and opportunities are located throughout our entire Metro area,” she says. “Our goal is to expand the places in which arts and culture happen so that every block, every subdivision, every neighborhood is activated. In the future, arts and culture will continue to be part of the larger conversations in our city around health care, living well, education and quality of life.”
She says her favorite part of her job at Frazier Museum is meeting so many people in the community and hearing their stories about Kentucky’s heritage. It’s what led the museum’s board to shift focus several years ago.
“Our board’s goal was to create something unique for the community by taking Mr. Frazier’s vision of mining the past for what’s relevant today and putting a fine point on Kentucky,” adds Peavler.
Next year, the museum will officially open the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Visitor Center, which they’re working on with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. The exhibit will focus on the culture of bourbon and its impact on the world, including facets of our state’s agriculture, limestone water and infrastructure.
“It’s also a wonderful way to share the stories of the arts, crafts and foodways that are part of the ‘bourbonism’ movement in Louisville,” says Peavler. “With the 5,000 new hotel rooms and the new Convention Center, the Frazier is poised to help showcase all the amazing things our region has to offer.”
The Frazier Museum currently is hosting “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition,” which has been attracting thousands of visitors near and far.
IL recently caught up with Peavler and asked her some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
Many people may answer this question with running with the bulls in Spain, summiting Mount Everest, or sailing around the world. I suppose my answer is surprising because it’s closer to home.
I would love to see the city of Louisville become the arts and cultural mecca of the United States. I recently helped launch Louisville’s new master plan for the arts — Imagine Greater Louisville 2020. Seeing that plan come to fruition is a big Bucket List item for me.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
My bedroom in junior high school had a Peter Max art poster on the wall, and I had a Peter Max bedspread and curtains. It was awesome.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
I would give the key to the city to Todd Lowe, arts and culture master plan steering committee leader and tireless arts advocate. I have known Todd for more than 20 years, and throughout his successful career in finance, he has given so much to many arts and culture organizations in Louisville.
His love of jazz and zeal for the arts have had him lead the Board of the Southern Arts Federation and the Kentucky Arts Council as well as Actors Theatre, the Speed, Public Radio and the Fund for the Arts. I admire Todd fondly!
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
My preferred pizza toppings are mushrooms, onions and green peppers on thin crust.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
If I could be any age for a week, it would be age 27, because that was my best age and that is the age I still feel like I am in my mind.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
The famous person people say I resemble the most is artist Jenny Holzer, who said, “It takes a while before you can step over inert bodies and go ahead with what you were trying to do.”
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
I would most like to be stuck in an elevator with Benedict Cumberbatch for obvious reasons.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.