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Students from Albany State University tour the “Butch Anthony: Art, Nature, and Interwangleism” exhibition on view now in the Haley Gallery at the Albany Museum of Art. The AMA has five exhibition galleries open and a full slate of programs underway.

Hey, where’s the AMA going?

Things will be great when you’re downtown. No finer place for sure downtown. Everything’s waiting for you.

— Petula Clark

Over the last 10 years or so, scuttlebutt has it that the Albany Museum of Art will move downtown. Rumors as to when, where, why, and how it’s happening have swerved from fiction to truth to the absurd, like the telephone game children play.

Folks, here’s the skinny. The AMA is currently located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, where it has enjoyed a fabulously rich existence serving Albany and all visitors since 1983. We are open for business with an array of compelling exhibitions and programs for guests of all ages, featuring innovative approaches to engaging people while providing substantive experiences with phenomenal works of art. Come and see.

Throughout this last year, the AMA board, staff, and stakeholders have been working behind the scenes to develop a crucial and robust five-year strategic plan that will guide us forward to realize our vision to become a hub of artistic and cultural energy, and the premier arts destination for the south Georgia region.

Where, you may ask?

You guessed it: Downtown!

Moving to the heart of this wonderful city — yes, Albany is wonderful — (all naysayers and haters begone!) will follow the successful conclusion of a $12 million-$15 million capital campaign we plan to launch later in 2021 to rehabilitate the former Belk Department Store and transform it into the new AMA, the community gathering space it is destined to become. This critical funding will allow us to move into the heart of Albany, our next destination, in the next three to five years.

Believing in the essential value of art to the community, this move (downtown) is a real opportunity to imagine and create the next version of the Albany Museum of Art that will benefit future generations in Albany and southwest Georgia.

Setting the AMA’s mission to support the accessibility to and enjoyment of the global history of art, from the traditional to the contemporary, our exhibitions and public programs fulfill the ethos of “bringing the art of the South to the world, and the art of the world to the South.”

With public and private support, the currently empty Belk building shall transform into an inclusive, dynamic and technologically advanced arts destination with:

♦ 58,000 square feet of space, more than double the 25,000 at the current AMA location;

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

♦ Expanded event space to accommodate hundreds of guests;

♦ Expanded classroom space to support educational programs for children and adults;

♦ State-of-the-art collection storage for the permanent collection;

♦ Studio space for artists-in-residence;

♦ Multimedia systems to support new and emerging art;

♦ Café and museum store;

♦ Outdoor sculpture garden.

We shall build a stronger community through art by:

♦ Supporting the redevelopment of downtown Albany;

♦ Creating an arts district with downtown cultural partners;

♦ Reaching a broader audience by moving downtown;

♦ Hosting more K-12 and university student groups;

♦ Welcoming large touring exhibitions.

With a new location comes new meaning and greater responsibilities to be more relevant to our communities than ever before. At our future downtown location, the AMA will serve as an anchor of a new, intentional, and meaningful arts district.

And while the location shall change, we will continue to recognize and empower our community while celebrating its diversity, cultures and uniqueness through art, making unforgettable art experiences accessible to everyone through free admission. We are dedicated to ensuring all members of our community feel welcome, safe and inspired at the AMA.

Please join me, and all of us at the AMA, as we stand by the conviction that the positive experience of art and culture is essential and fundamental to life. We look forward to sharing this experience with you. Now. And later. Where? Downtown.

Andrew J. “Andy” Wulf is executive director of the Albany Museum of Art. A native of Los Angeles, he has a Ph.D. from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, United Kingdom, and an M.A. in Art History and Museum Studies from the University of Southern California. Before coming to the AMA in October 2019, he was executive director of the New Mexico History Museum and the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, N.M. (2015-19) and supervisory museum curator for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (2010-15). Contact him at andrew.wulf@albanymuseum.com.

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