Albany Museum of Art New Contemporaries Group Set for Inaugural Event July 26th

Staff Report From Albany CEO

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

The AMA Contemporaries, an exciting new group for young professionals in Albany and Southwest Georgia, has formed, combining love for art with entertaining evenings where they can meet friends, make new ones, network and have fun.
The ultimate goal: Making the arts stronger in the community by building interest in the museum and its mission of building community through art. The group also will be instrumental in developing future leadership for the Albany Museum of Art.
Formation of the AMA Contemporaries began last spring with the group’s first event planned for Thursday, July 26, 2018, at the Albany Museum of Art, 311 Meadowlark Drive. Bar Fight: An Evening of Masterfully Mixed Cocktails Inspired by Famous Works of Art will feature local bartenders competing to create the perfect summer cocktail, which Contemporaries will be able to sample. The bartenders will choose a famous work of art to inspire their creations.
The event, sponsored by Phoebe Physicians group, also includes access to the AMA’s current exhibitions, food, music by Durango Larry, the opening of the AMA Contemporaries Exhibit in the Hodges Sales Gallery, and a cash bar. Thirteenth Colony Distilleries also is providing support for the event. You must be at least 21 years old to attend.
“What we’re hoping to do, ultimately, is bridge the gap between the patrons we have coming now to check out the museum and the exhibits with new ones to build a broader audience through the Contemporaries,” Re-Essa Buckels, co-chair of the AMA Contemporaries board, said. “We’re trying to pull in a new, wider audience.
“The Contemporaries would help to do that because it’s really targeted for young professionals, ages 21 to 45. Ultimately, by bridging that gap and bringing in more patrons, we would build up the support and add on support for the museum.”
Chloe Hinton, director of education and programming at the Albany Museum of Art, said she is pleased to see the excitement surrounding the new group. She also pointed out how the first event ties in with the AMA’s exhibition in the Haley Gallery, Neighborhood for Painters: Narrative Painting by Four Georgia Artists.
“Community is all about neighborhood,” Hinton said. “Every neighborhood has a tavern, bar or restaurant where you go to hang out with friends or celebrate major events. These establishments are part of the life of these neighborhoods, with staff becoming part of the extended family.
“That’s why we’ve brought in bartenders from across Albany together, to represent their neighborhoods for a night of friendly competition.”
The AMA Contemporaries will have quarterly events, with future ones this season scheduled for Oct. 25, 2018; Jan. 24, 2019, and April 25, 2019. Each of the events will be planned by the Contemporaries board, which is composed of members in the 21-45 age group.
“It will be planned by us for us,” said Buckels, a former WALB news reporter who now works at Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany. “The reason is the (Contemporaries) board reflects that diverse audience we’re trying to get. We have a diverse board and we all share this love for art, and so what we’re doing is we’re making sure that we think of events that not only target that audience, but also will benefit that audience and help them grow their love for art.
“All of these events will be art related. They may not always be at the art museum, but they always will have an art component.”
AMA members who sign up for all four events get a tremendous discount. AMA members at the basic annual membership ($75 or higher) can attend all the Contemporaries events for an additional $15 per adult on the membership. New members can also get the discount when they sign up at the $75 or higher membership level.
Future members can attend all four events for $100. Tickets may also be purchased for individual events at $30 in advance or $35 at the door.
AMA memberships can be purchased online at
Tickets for the Bar Fight event and the series of four Contemporaries events can be purchased online at (AMA members can get their Contemporaries discount here, too.)
“I would encourage everybody to come to at least the first event and give it a try,” Buckels said. “We’re open to feedback in terms of planning the next and other events.”
She added that organizers of Bar Fight: An Evening of Masterfully Mixed Cocktails Inspired by Famous Works of Art are finding there is quite a bit of excitement ahead of the event.
“I think we’re going to have a good turnout just from word of mouth,” Buckels said. “Our board is coming from different backgrounds.
“I hope we’ll convince more people to come out from different industries. It’s not only a young professional group, it’s also a place where people can come and network, meet new people. Having a diverse board will allow us to be able reach all the different sectors of society so more and different people will feel welcome to come to those events.”
It’s an exciting time for young professionals to be introduced to the museum, she said.
“The museum is getting ready to move downtown, which will require more support from the community,” Buckels said. “If we have more events downtown, more people will come to the museum. More people will come to the museum and we want the Contemporaries to offer something for those new groups to see.”