The newly renovated lobby of the Albany Museum of Art offers a more modern, spacious look for visitors to the facility.
ALBANY — Although she served as interim director of the Albany Museum of Art for a year before being officially named executive director of the facility last week, Karen Kemp is energized by the appointment.
“I feel so blessed ... to be able to get up and go to work at the museum every morning,” Kemp said after the AMA’s board voted to take the interim tag off her title.
The timing of Kemp’s elevation couldn’t have been better for the civic leader who has devoted much of her adult life to serving the community. On Aug. 15, the newly renovated museum will “re-open” to much fanfare with a fundraiser that will benefit an art therapy initiative for cancer patients and survivors. The initiative is a joint project of the museum and the Cancer Coalition of South Georgia.
“This initiative, and this kind of significant partnership with another nonprofit in our community, is an example of the kinds of things we want to do more of,” Kemp said. “Steve Penley is a very popular artist, and the Cancer Coalition has a relationship with Ray Stephenson. We started talking about working together, and it all dovetailed into this avant garde happening.
“We think it’s a great way to showcase the renovations of the museum. I think people are going to be blown away when they see the work that’s been done. This work is the vision of (patron) Mrs. Jane Willson and some of our other supporters.”
The AMA’s lobby space has an exciting, more spacious, modern look, but the improvements don’t stop there. From a new catering kitchen to a vastly improved auditorium to new bathroom facilities to cosmetic touch-ups museumwide, the 311 Meadowlark Drive facility is itself a work of art.
Museum Director of Marketing Cristin Kirbo said she, Kemp and other AMA officials are working to make the facility more community-friendly.
“We stress that the Albany Museum of Art is the community’s museum,” Kirbo said. “We want input from the community; we want to hear their ideas. These renovations are going to give the people of Albany more reasons to come and take advantage of this facility. We want to make it what they want it to be.”
The Aug. 15 fundraiser will feature the opening of an exhibit of the work of renowned Georgia artist Penley, and will showcase the unique multimedia talents of Albany-born singer/songwriter/artist Stephenson, who will display his paintings of rock music icons and headline a musical event that will also feature local artists Jodi Mann and Ryan West.
Tickets for the re-opening are $10 for AMA members and $15 for non-members.