January 11, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Additional $3.3 Million in State Funding to Support Expansion of Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo

Governor Cuomo Announces Additional $3.3 Million in State Funding to Support Expansion of Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo

Complements Western New York's Ongoing Economic and Cultural Renaissance

View Rendering of the Albright-Knox Expansion Project Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced an additional $3.3 million in state funding to support the $155 million Albright-Knox Gallery expansion project, known as AK360. The expanded museum, which will become the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, will include a new freestanding building on a park-like campus and enhanced programs to complement the economic and cultural renaissance Western New York has experienced in recent years.

"The expansion of the renowned Albright-Knox Art Gallery will attract even more visitors to the thriving Western New York region to enjoy this premier collection of modern and contemporary art," Governor Cuomo said. "New York is proud to support this exciting initiative, which will pay dividends for the entire region and we thank philanthropist Jeffrey Gundlach for matching the state's latest funding for the expansion dollar-for-dollar."

"The Albright-Knox is part of the heart and soul of Buffalo, and New York State is stepping up to further support this important expansion initiative," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "With this state investment, the Albright-Knox becomes the latest part of the transformation taking place across Buffalo and Western New York. Arts and cultural institutions are drivers of economic development and tourism, and this project will support the continued revitalization of the entire region."

The AK360 project is supported by both public and private funds, including the single largest private donation to a cultural institution in Buffalo's history. Jeffrey Gundlach, a Buffalo native, has pledged a total of $52.5 million in matching funds to the museum. The project is also supported by a shared commitment of $18.3 million in state funding. Once completed, it is projected that AK360 will increase visitation by more than 30 percent - attracting at least 160,000 visitors per year. It is also estimated that the region could experience a sustained economic benefit of an additional $10 million per year as a result of the increased tourism.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "This transformational Albright-Knox expansion project will increase Buffalo's social and economic capital, benefitting Western New York for years to come."

Albright-Knox Art Gallery's Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Janne Sirén said, "We are thrilled by Governor Cuomo's continuing support of AK360. The Governor's generous additional investment to our transformative campus development and expansion project galvanizes the forces of Buffalo's ongoing renaissance, in which the future Buffalo AKG Art Museum will play an important role. With the support of Governor Cuomo and New York State, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum will become an open, inclusive, and accessible resource for diverse audiences from across Western New York and beyond."

Jeffrey Gundlach said, "Tourists and visitors around the world see art museums as the reflection of a city's culture. The Buffalo AKG Art Museum will be a testament to the creativity, vibrancy, and resilience of Buffalo, a world-class city in the midst of a profound resurgence. Governor Cuomo's investment in AK360 is a vote of confidence in the AK360 project and the museum's role as a cornerstone of Buffalo's cultural and civic life."

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, with the initial construction of the museum in 1905 and a new wing added in 1962. AK360, the third expansion, will add more than 25,000 square feet of space for displaying special exhibitions and Albright-Knox's world-renowned art collection. Designed by OMA/Shohei Shigematsu, the new building will incorporate numerous visitor amenities and is envisioned to have a wraparound promenade that visually connects the interior of the building with the surrounding Frederick Law Olmsted landscape.

Throughout the process of developing the design, the Albright-Knox/OMA team has been in conversation with New York's State Historic Preservation Office, a committee of the Buffalo Preservation Board, and staff and board members of the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. In addition, OMA worked with expert preservation consultants to ensure that the preservation of the existing historic buildings was taken into account as the initial concept design evolved into the new schematic design.

The expansion project plans to:

  • 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;
  • Build an underground parking structure and transform the surface parking lot into a vibrant green landscape and gathering place;
  • Open a route through the museum from Elmwood Avenue to Olmsted's Delaware Park, adding a new point of entry and exit on the east façade of the museum's 1962 Building;
  • Cover the 1962 Building's open-air Sculpture Garden to create a new Indoor Town Square for year-round civic engagement, open free of charge to the community during museum and program hours;
  • Create a new education wing in the lower level of the 1962 Building; and
  • Construct a signature scenic bridge that connects the new building with the 1905 Building.

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "Thank you to Governor Cuomo but also Jeffrey Gundlach for both doubling down on their financial commitments to this major regional cultural capital project. The Albright Knox Art Gallery has a world renown collection, the majority of which most visitors have never seen due to its confined exhibit space. Soon enough this will no longer be the case. In the near future, the New York State Assembly Majority Conference will be making its own announcement regarding matching funds."

Assembly Member Sean Ryan said, "The Albright Knox is a valuable cultural asset here in Buffalo. This investment will help continue the museum's great legacy and make it a destination for generations to come."

Assembly Member Karen McMahon said, "Albright-Knox is a beacon for all who love and appreciate some of the most celebrated artists in the world. By reaching this new goal, it ensures the gallery will continue to be a destination for families across the region to enjoy and explore."

County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said, "AK360 is one of the most ambitious and breathtaking projects envisioned in Buffalo over the last several decades and will bring the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to even greater prominence worldwide. Erie County is proud to have committed $5 million towards this project and I thank Governor Cuomo for his additional commitment to the project and also Mr. Gundlach for his generosity and love of the gallery, which is one of Erie County's treasures."

Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, "Thank you to Governor Cuomo for this contribution to the milestone expansion of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a project that will ensure this amazing Buffalo treasure remains a world-class facility for generations to come. In December, I announced the commitment of $2.5 million from the City of Buffalo for public infrastructure to better integrate the expanded gallery to our Olmsted-designed Delaware Park. Public and private support for the AK360 effort is both a privilege and a responsibility."

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