ALBANY— The Albany Museum of Art is working to fill a community need by inviting college students searching for a calm, safe place to study to utilize the museum’s freshly renovated activity space.
“We shall always look for ways to serve our community in innovative ways,” AMA Executive Director Andrew James Wulf said. “With the uncertainty of COVID-19, students may need a safe, calm place to study. We believe that is a need we can address by repurposing some of our space. Our proximity to the Albany State University West Campus makes this convenient to the students we want to serve.
“The Albany Museum of Art is a wonderful place to find inspiration for educational pursuits. When students need to take a break from the books, they can visit our wonderful art exhibitions, which offer visual ways to engage and revitalize the mind. We believe the museum is the perfect environment to help college students excel.”
Students are welcome to the AMA Study Hall during the museum’s normal hours of operations. The museum is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on Thursdays. AMA officials plan to resume Saturday business hours in the near future. Admission is free, and a student does not have to be an AMA member to use the study area.
“Every dollar counts when you are a college student,” Wulf noted. “This is a service we are offering that will not cost the student anything.”
The museum is asking students to follow safety guidelines, including wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and allowing 6 feet of space for other students and museum guests. The AMA also asks students who enjoy listening to music while they study to use earbuds or headphones so that they will not disturb other students and guests. Because of social distancing guidelines, a maximum of 10 students may be in the study hall area at one time.
While the AMA was closed to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of physical improvements to the museum were made. The AMA Study Hall will be located in the activity area formerly known as AMAzing Space. Renovations have added to the versatility of the space, enabling the museum to implement innovative programs such as the college study hall.
“We hope students will take advantage of the opportunity,” AMA Director of Education and Public Programming Annie Vanoteghem said. “The study hall area has been completely redesigned, with bold colors, beautiful fabric prints, and new, comfortable furniture for both children and adults.
“It has a fresh look that is inspiring and inviting — two things we, as a museum, want to be. We want everyone who visits to have a great experience.”
Vanoteghem said she hopes that college students who drop by to study will take advantage of the exhibitions. Visitors entering the activity space pass through the West Gallery, which features work both from and inspired by the Pasaquan art complex near Buena Vista that was founded by the late Eddie Martin, better known as folk artist St. EOM. “Viberations of Pasaquan” includes artwork by St. EOM, as well as works by two artists he inspired — Eddie Dominguez, art professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Martha Clippinger, a native of Columbus who now lives and works in Durham, N.C.
The Haley Gallery exhibition is “JUAN LOGAN: creating & collecting,” which offers a rare glimpse into the mind of the artist known for the insightful social commentary in his work. The exhibition includes both artworks created by the North Carolina artist and pieces by artists that he has collected over his long career.
The East Gallery features Works by Brian Willmont, a Brooklyn, N.Y., artist whose colorful, elegantly created artwork embodies both decorative beauty and underlying cynicism.
“We are happy to offer this space to the college students in our community,” Wulf concluded. “We look forward to welcoming them.”