The Albright-Knox Art Gallery has announced what it is calling the largest single private donation to a cultural institution in Buffalo's history. It is a $42.5 million challenge grant from Buffalo-born billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach.
Janne Sirén, Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director of the Albright-Knox, says its once-in-a-lifetime expansion project, known as AK360, has taken a giant leap forward with a $42.5 million challenge grant by financial visionary and prominent art collector Jeffrey Gundlach. A native of Buffalo with lifelong ties here, Gundlach is CEO and Founder of Los Angeles-based DoubleLine Capital, which has assets under management of more than $100 billion.
At one time, Gundlach was said to be interested in purchasing the Buffalo Bills. Sirén says Gundlach has been named one of the “50 Most Influential” by Bloomberg Markets magazine, “Money Manager of the Year” by Institutional Investor magazine and one of Forbes magazine’s “Most Powerful People.”
It is hoped the gift will galvanize the entire community to rally in support of the gallery's AK360 project, with more than $40.5 million contributed from the private sector, including individuals, foundations and corporations, as well as expected government support of an estimated $20 million, including $15 million from the State of New York.
"This spectacular level of rapid support has inspired the museum to increase the goal of its capital campaign to $125 million," Sirén says. Funds will enable the museum to realize the expansion and renovation of its buildings , enhance its campus in Delaware Park and bolster its operating endowment.
Thomas Hyde, President of the museum’s Board of Directors, also announced a new name for the museum in honor of the gift.
“In recognition of Mr. Gundlach’s extraordinary vision and generosity and in honor of his dedication to the city, the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy has unanimously resolved that the museum shall become known officially as the Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum, colloquially the Buffalo AKG Art Museum,” he said. The new name will continue the museum’s tradition of honoring transformative donors and will take effect upon the opening of a new building on the museum’s expanded and renovated campus.
More information will be provided at a news conference this afternoon, with Governor Andrew Cuomo in attendance. In advance of the formal announcement, the Governor noted the Albright-Knox's history as a renowned cultural institution in Western New York for generations.
"With this expansion, this celebrated museum will further extend its reach and provide more New Yorkers, visitors and residents with the opportunity to enjoy its timeless exhibits," Cuomo said. "This project is further proof of Western New York’s renaissance and the state is proud to support this unique initiative which will benefit the entire region.”