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Arts & Culture

Albright-Knox Art Gallery unveils latest expansion plans

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery would add a building, save a building and renovate its original building under the latest version of its A-K-360 plan. Gallery officials say they'll need to raise $155 million in order ro fulfill their vision.

The new North Building will replace part of the current front parking lot. A lawn would replace the remaining lot, with a parking ramp  available below ground.

"When we started this process, I heard very often comments to the effect of: Please don't build on parkland. Don't take up parkland," said Gallery Director Janne Siren.

"I think we are so proud of the that fact that, today, at the end of schematic design, we can say we are actually making the campus greener."

The underground parking will also provide easier access for the elderly and patrons with disabilities who visit the gallery.

"You can actually come to this institution and then drop your car underground, protected and go into all these buildings. So, you will have this much more plausible arrival in this campus," architect Shohei Shigematsu

The plans also provide an additional 29,000 square feet of exhibition space. The amenities come at a hefty price, one that Siren believes is vital for the continued success of the Albright-Knox.

"Our board very wisely has felt that we can't build this new thing if we don't have the funds to operate it."

The construction cost is estimated ar $125 million. Another $30 million would be set aside for an operational endowment.

"The operating endowment component of the capital campaign is as important as the construction component and I don't think that our board would prioritize one over the other. They really view it as one cohesive whole," Siern said. 

Officials say $125 million has been pledged to the campaign. If all goes according to schedule the project would be comepleted in late 2021.


Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.