Project Supported by $10 Million in State Funding Museum’s First Expansion in 60 Years Highlights Western New York’s Renaissance
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $125 million expansion of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. The celebrated project is supported by a shared commitment of $10 million in state funding by the Governor and the New York State Senate. The museum’s expansion, AK360, includes plans for a new building and enhanced programs to complement the economic and cultural renaissance Western New York has experienced in recent years. The project is bolstered by the single largest private donation to a cultural institution in the history of Buffalo.
“From paying tribute to modern classics to showcasing Buffalo’s best, the Albright-Knox Gallery has served as a renowned cultural institution in Western New York for generations,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this expansion, this celebrated museum will further extend its reach and provide more New Yorkers, visitors and residents with the opportunity to enjoy its timeless exhibits. This project is further proof of Western New York’s renaissance, and the state is proud to support this unique initiative which will benefit the entire region.”
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, "The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is a premier showplace for modern and contemporary art with thousands of works which serve as a cultural and educational resource for countless visitors from all over the state and country. I am proud that New York State, and specifically the New York State Senate, can invest resources that allow it to continue to fulfill its extraordinary mission, while promoting tourism and economic development in Western New York."
Founded in 1862 as the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery features a renowned collection of modern and contemporary art. The Albright-Knox has expanded twice before, roughly every 60 years, with the initial construction of the museum in 1905 and a new wing added in 1962. The third expansion aims to construct an entirely new building with renovated facilities and expanded program capacity. With this expansion, the Albright-Knox will reflect and showcase the ongoing economic and cultural revitalization of Buffalo and the entire region of Western New York.
The Albright-Knox developed the pillars of the AK360 expansion project as a result of an 18-month public outreach effort. Based on public input, the Albright-Knox developed the AK360 concept, which will take a 360-degree view of the relationship between the museum and its environment.
With this expansion, this celebrated museum will further extend its reach and provide more New Yorkers, visitors and residents with the opportunity to enjoy its timeless exhibits.
The expansion project will:
- Provide a larger space to exhibit the collection of masterworks, which has increased four-fold since the last expansion in 1962.
- Create premier facilities for special exhibitions.
- Enhance the visitor experience with new and better space for education, dining and special gatherings.
- Integrate the museum’s campus within Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park.
The AK360 project is supported by both public and private funds, including the single largest private donation to a cultural institution in the history of Buffalo. Jeffrey Gundlach, a Buffalo native, has pledged $42.5 million to the museum. This historic donation galvanized the Buffalo community in support of the project, inspiring the museum to increase the goal of the capital plan to $125 million.
Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer said, "This momentous expansion of a fine cultural institution showcases the ongoing renaissance of Western New York. Over the past several years, our region has seen remarkable economic revitalization and progress, and the expanded Albright-Knox Gallery will attract more visitors to witness the transformation of Western New York and everything it has to offer.”
Senator Patrick Gallivan said, “Today’s announcement celebrates not only the rich history of the State of New York, but also the positive economic trajectory of the Buffalo region. We thank Governor Cuomo for joining us at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to recognize the eclectic art created right here in Western New York, and beyond. We look forward to even more development and cultural growth throughout the community with this memorable transformation.”
Senator Tim Kennedy said, “This project marks the latest major development in the new revitalization of Western New York. The expansion of Albright-Knox Art Gallery reflects the rich cultural offerings of the region, as well as the significant economic growth of the past several years. Governor Cuomo has been a faithful ally to Western New York, with major investments to ensure an even brighter future for this region’s families and communities. This expansion project will continue that upward trend, bringing new jobs, visitors and resources to Western New York.”
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "This is an historic day for the Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum and the City of Buffalo. The arts are a cornerstone of Buffalo's cultural, educational and economic vitality and this gift of $42.5 million to the museum by Western New York native Jeffrey Gundlach positions the institution to take an even greater role in Buffalo's significant resurgence, bolstered already by Governor Andrew Cuomo's continued commitment to our city. This generous pledge, coupled with the Albright-Knox expansion project, supports a brighter future for our city, significantly transforming the museum and bolstering the cultural and economic life of Buffalo."
County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, "Erie County was among the first supporters of this exciting vision for the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and we are proud to join our partners in the private sector and government who have also joined the effort. This gallery is known world-wide and is a cultural treasure in Erie County, one that will see new growth and enjoy an even higher profile with this expansion. Today's announcement is the first step towards a bright future for the new Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Museum and I thank Jeffrey Gundlach, as well as Governor Cuomo, for their tremendous support for this project."
Jeffrey Gundlach said, “I learned about art by going to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery with my family. It was the place that first opened my eyes and mind to the endless possibilities of art and showed me that Buffalo didn’t just have the potential for greatness, but actually had a museum that was world-class. That’s why I wanted to make this challenge gift to AK360: to energize the project, give it a burst of momentum and galvanize the enthusiasm of private and foundation donors and the public sector, including the City of Buffalo, Erie County and the State of New York.”
Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Janne Sirén said, "Many cities around the world have reinvented themselves by investing in culture, and now Buffalo joins the ranks of this movement, with the museum’s rich cultural history and bold vision for the future fueling the engine of a social and economic renaissance. Art and culture, ancient markers of human identity, tell us where we come from, who we are, and what we might aspire to be. Access to art and culture is a basic human right and that is what our campus development project, AK360, is all about."
Robert G. Wilmers, Chairman of the AK360 capital campaign and Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of M&T Bank, said, “The challenge gift that Jeffrey Gundlach conceived has already proved transformative for the campaign and the museum, and we are deeply grateful. Investments in great cultural institutions pay enormous dividends to their cities and communities, increasing their social and economic capital. This remarkable gift and the overwhelming support it has spurred will have a profound impact on the civic life of Buffalo and Western New York for generations to come.”