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ALBANY — The Albany Museum of Art is receiving a $48,908 grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts that will allow the museum to bring part of its permanent collection back to the AMA.

State Representative Gerald Greene, R-Cuthbert, whose House District includes part of Dougherty County, informed AMA officials of the grant. He also said the museum will receive a $3,576.90 Vibrant Community Grant from the Georgia Council for the Arts for the AMA’s signature fall community festival, ChalkFest.

“I’m always proud to work to get these important grants for our region,” Greene said. “There’s always a lot of competition for these grants.”

Albany Museum of Art Executive Director Andrew James Wulf said he was excited about the grant approvals

“On behalf of the Albany Museum of Art, its staff and board, we would like to thank the Georgia Council for the Arts for their magnanimous support through these grants of this treasured institution,” Wulf said. “These monies shall be used to bring our art collections home to an improved storage facility and ensure their long-term survival.

“In addition, the funds we have received for our annual art festival shall support its success as an ongoing celebration of the creative spirit in our community.”

Officials with the Georgia Council for the Arts say the GCA follows the National Endowment for the Arts precedent of using peer review panels to adjudicate applications. These panels included fellow professionals who are experienced in the arts discipline or type of grant being reviewed, or are Georgia citizens with a record of involvement in arts activities, experience and knowledge.

“The Vibrant Communities Grant, along with our new Cultural Facilities Grant, have allowed GCA to support some of the most impactful arts programming happening in communities of all sizes throughout the state,” Karen Paty, the executive director for Georgia Council for the Arts, said. “These grants invest not only in the cultural infrastructure, buildings, classrooms, theaters, museums, that support the creation of great programs, but also the downtowns, libraries, community centers and schools that invite Georgians to connect with one another and with meaningful arts experiences in their everyday lives.”

Cultural Facilities is a new grant program this year that provides funding for the renovation, restoration, preservation or acquisition of a building to be used for arts programming. It also provides assistance to purchase equipment needed to support arts programs. The Facilities Grant will allow the Albany Museum of Art to bring back part of its permanent collection, which has been in storage since the Jan 2, 2017 storm and its hurricane-force winds tore open the roof of the museum.

AMA Board of Trustees member Bruce Campbell, who chairs the Collections Committee, said he was “ecstatic” that the grant request was approved. Albany Museum of Art officials are in the early stages of planning the museum’s relocation to downtown Albany, which will take three or four years. Campbell said that is too long for the collection to remain in storage.

“The storm ripped the roof off of the section where our African collection was stored and destroyed all the collection’s storage equipment and facilities,” Campbell said. “This grant is to replace that so we can get our collection back that is in storage.

“We want to bring it home, but we want to have the proper storage facilities to protect it. As soon as we can bring it back, we will. We won’t bring back the whole collection at one time, but this grant also includes some improvements to our storage for works on paper. They weren’t damaged in the storm, but we had to get them out of the building because there was no power in the vault at the time, and because of the humidity.”

While the museum’s move is a few years off, its presence in the downtown district already is being felt with AMA ChalkFest. The Vibrant Communities Grant helps support the fall festival, which brings world-class professional chalk artists to Albany to create large images on the street while guests watch.

The second annual festival, conducted on Oct. 5, drew a crowd of more than 4,000 to the 100 block of Pine Avenue. In addition to the chalk art created by professional artists, those attending watched local artists and students compete with their own chalk art creations, sampled dozens of craft beers, enjoyed live music, and visited many vendors and food trucks.

Greene said he was happy to see the awarding of the grants, noting that the arts are vital to the economic health of southwest Georgia.

“The arts are important,” he said. “You have to have vibrant arts in your community. It’s essential for a strong community. I’m proud of what the folks at the Albany Museum of Art are doing.”

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