If you like the current Albright-Knox Art Gallery, there are just a few months left to see it on Elmwood Avenue. The gallery plans to close at the end of this year for two years of construction and expansion, while installations, special events and performances will move to the Northland Beltline Corridor.
Gallery Director Janne Siren said the much-expanded cultural center will re-open on Elmwood Avenue in the spring of 2022 after nearly $160 million in construction. That will add a third building on the property and remove a parking lot in front, replaced by a larger underground parking ramp.
Siren said he has raised millions of dollars for the project in Europe because of the collection.
"Things like The Guardian story help, but I've been sort of on that fundraising trail now from long before The Guardian article came out," Siren said. "I think that when people realize the asset that we have, and of course the art world knows that, we are sort of a pilgrimage destination, sort of Santiago de Campostella for many people. Not in religious terms, but in artistic terms."
However, closing for contruction does not mean the collection will gather dust.
"We're sort of transferring our operations into an archipelago of them, around the city and the community," Siren said. "So we are ramping up our public art program. We are creating an art truck that will bring art to destinations close to you and then we will have our epicenter of our activities in Northland, 612 Northland Avenue, where we have several thousand square feet of exhibition space, education classrooms."
The gallery said 612 Northland will serve as its principal site over the next two years and the main collection will be put into off-site storage. Construction dust and reverberations don't mix with multimillion-dollar works of art.
Masten Common Councilmember Ulysees Wingo said the Northland gallery shows the increasing diversity of the community in the Albright-Knox decision to bring this art collection to that community.
"It says a lot about what's happening in the City of Buffalo, the diversity and the cultural sensitivity that's taking place," Wingo said. "The fact that the Albright-Knox is going to bring such a wonderful, wonderful setup to the East Side of Buffalo, particularly the Northland Beltline Corridor."
He said it will also brings art to those who don't have cars and would need a complex bus trip from the East Side to the Elmwood Village.