Demolition Work Begins at Future Site of Albany Museum of Art
Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
Demolition work began Monday on a former dance studio adjacent to the future home of the Albany Museum of Art. The building at the southeast corner of Washington Street and Broad Avenue will make way for a sculpture garden.
“This will be the most visible sign of progress in our upcoming move to the former Belk department store that touches the old dance studio on two sides,” AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf, Ph.D., said. “We have been making headway with the cleanup of soil contaminants and the removal of asbestos from the Belk building earlier this year, but this development is one people will easily notice.”
The AMA received approval from the city of Albany and the Albany-Dougherty Historic Preservation Commission for the tearing down of the dance studio, which also was once home to an Otasco auto parts and appliances store. The work is being done by Oxford Construction Co.
Wulf said AMA officials are thankful for the support the relocation project has received from city of Albany and Dougherty County officials, as well as officials with the Historic Preservation Commission, Albany-Dougherty Inner City Authority and the Downtown Development Authority.
“There is a lot of positive progress that is being made,” Wulf said. “The $350,000 in cleanup work that was funded through an EPA Brownfields Grant has helped make Albany a healthier city by removing contaminants, and this tear down will enable us to beautify a rather depressed-looking corner. These are both wonderful wins for our community.”
The AMA will launch a capital campaign this year to raise funding for the 53,000-square-foot museum that will occupy the Belk building once it is renovated. The museum relocation project is expected to cost $12 million-$15 million, and could take five years to complete.
In addition to more than doubling the amount of exhibition, education, programming, event and art object storage space now available at the current building at 311 Meadowlark Drive, AMA officials say the relocation to the Broad Avenue location will make the museum more accessible to the public. “We want to be in the heart of the community,” Wulf said. “We shall be a new, robust anchor of activity in a revitalized downtown district.”
CURRENT AMA EXHIBITIONS
n Butch Anthony: Art, Nature, and Intertwangleism is in the Haley Gallery March 4-July 31, 2021.
n Work, Worship & Community: Paul Kwilecki is in the East Gallery March 4-June 26, 2021.
n Educators as Artists: 4th College Faculty Exhibition is in the McCormack Gallery March 4-June 26, 2021
n Escape Plan, installation by Elinor Saragoussi, is in the West Gallery.