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Last weekend to visit Albright-Knox before major expansion begins

Nick Lippa

It’s the last weekend to visit the Albright-Knox’s Elmwood Avenue campus before it shuts down for a major expansion project until 2022. So what’s next for the art gallery?

Surrounded by a fog-like light in the near pitch black, art lovers Friday morning came to experience Anthony McCall’s installation Dark Rooms, Solid Light one last time before the gallery gets a massive makeover.

“On Sunday we’re here until five. And that’s the last day to visit us. We’re glad we have some extra hours for folks to get in this weekend and visit the museum one last time before big changes happen,” said Albright-Knox Director of Communications Maria Morreale.

Construction is expected to begin before the end of November. In the meantime, a new project space at 612 Northland Avenue will open this upcoming January.

“It’s about 15,000 square feet. It’s going to have classrooms. It’s going to have a community room and about 8,000 square feet of exhibition space,” Morreale said. “We won’t be showing fine art from the collection there, but we will be doing a host of special projects and installations over there and we’ll be featuring works from artists across disciplines.”

Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO

Although the main campus will be under construction, the Albright-Knox plans to stay busy by expanding their efforts in different capacities throughout Buffalo, including an art truck.

“Which will be driving creativity throughout Western New York for the next several years. And we’re also planning to increase our public art activities. So we’ll be doing lots more murals, lots more installations throughout Buffalo and Erie County in the coming years.”

The expansion will include several upgrades, like a new parking lot that will be placed below ground. An acre of green space will replace the current lot in front of the museum. This was a concern Albright-Knox officials heard often at public meetings.

Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO
About an acre of green space outside the front that is planned

Morreale said something she’s excited for is to have more space to show off their collection year round.

“To keep things dynamic and fresh we mix things up and we change what’s on view all the time,” she said. “We’ll have enough space that we can have a more consistent and fixed installation which is really nice, particularly for visitors coming in from out of town. If they want to see the Warhol, the Warhol will be there.”

Once the project is completed, the area between Buffalo State and Delaware Park will have a lot to offer art enthusiasts.

“We have the Burchfield Penney across the street which is dedicated to the arts and the artists of Western New York. And then you have an organization that has a somewhat more global focus like the Albright-Knox,” Morreale said. “With those two things being so complimentary to one another, I think visitors are going to have a tremendous art experience.”

Albright-Knox’s last First Friday runs today until 10 p.m. Admission to their featured exhibit, Anthony McCall’s installation Dark Rooms, Solid Light, is ‘Pay What You Wish’ until Sunday.

Credit Nick Lippa / WBFO
Conceptual drawings of Anthony McCall’s installation Dark Rooms, Solid Light

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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