Albany Museum of Art seeks funding from Dougherty County Commission

April 25 – ALBANY – Officials at the Albany Art Museum on Monday outlined a plan for the use of additional space that will come with the museum’s expansion as it moves to downtown Albany. The plan was part of a presentation made by AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf to the Dougherty County Commission.

Wulf asked the commission to consider a leadership gift of $2 million to help fund his move to downtown Albany. Wulf requested $8 million in special tax funds from the Albany City Commission last week.

In his application to county commissioners, Wulf said the donation of the next sales tax from local special-use options or other sources “would be demonstrative and significant” to the $34,975,000 cultural project. The museum, currently located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, will relocate to the former Belk Department Store at 128 and 146 W. Broad Ave. once the renovations are complete.

“With free admission and field trips for schools and organizations, we serve all of southwest Georgia,” Wulf said. “We offer scholarships to our art camps and we have free entry to our biggest event of the year, AMA ChalkFest.

“We strive to provide a place of inclusivity and accessibility. Accessibility is key to our mission, and that’s why our move downtown is crucial. With a more centralized location, it will be more easy for east and south Albany residents to access the museum, which is for everyone.”

Moving downtown will give the Albany Art Museum the space it needs to offer more exhibits, art classes, events and programs, Wulf told the board. . In the new building, the AMA’s space will more than double, from the current 25,000 square feet to 58,000 square feet. Wulf said the extra space will:

— Expanded exhibition space for art in a range of sizes and media;

— Expanded event space;

— Expanded classroom space that will support educational programs for children, teens and adults;

— State-of-the-art storage for WADA’s permanent collection;

— Studio space for artists in residence;

— Multimedia systems that will support new and emerging art;

— A café and a museum shop;

— An outdoor sculpture garden.

Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas noted that $700,000 to support the museum’s move downtown was included in SPLOST V, a special-purpose local option sales tax previously approved by the Dougherty County voters. Monday’s request would add $1.3 million, for a total of $2 million.

Aurora J. William