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Albright-Knox Art Gallery Thanks Foundation and Corporate Partners for Support of AK360

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Buffalo, NY – Today the Albright-Knox Art Gallery expressed its gratitude to the foundation and corporate partners that have supported the AK360 Capital Campaign.

Spurred by an innovative and unprecedented matching gift challenge by visionary philanthropist Jeffrey Gundlach, the entire Buffalo community has rallied in support of the project. More than $40.5 million has been contributed by the private sector, including individuals, foundations, and corporations, and government support of the campaign is an estimated $20 million, including $15 million from the State of New York and $5 million from the County of Erie.

The funds will enable the museum to realize an urgently needed expansion and renovation of its buildings—with a design by Shohei Shigematsu of the internationally recognized firm OMA—and to enhance its campus in Frederick Law Olmsted’s magnificent Delaware Park. As part of the AK360 Capital Campaign, the museum will also bolster its operating endowment to ensure its future vibrancy and vitality.

Albright-Knox Peggy Pierce Elfvin Director Janne Sirén, said, "When our foundation and corporate partners heard about Mr. Gundlach’s historic matching gift proposal, they took decisive action to support the AK360 Campus Development Project. This transformative endeavor has united our community, highlighting arts and culture as universal connectors of a thriving city. The Albright-Knox, as well as the greater Western New York area, is extremely fortunate to have these extraordinary organizations, and we are most grateful for their support.”

David Egner, President & CEO of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, said, “While the arts are not in our Foundation’s core funding areas, we could not pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to collaborate and leverage a historic gift to the Albright-Knox to advance this valuable community asset and improve access for all residents.”

“We believe great art can help build a great community, and we’re pleased to support this effort with what is, for us, a very substantial investment,” stated James Wadsworth, Chair of the John R. Oishei Foundation’s Board of Directors. “This project will maximize the museum’s impact, expand its role as a vibrant hub, and help connect people from all walks of life to great art, ideas, and each other.”

“Mr. Gundlach’s challenge presented such an exciting and energizing opportunity for M&T Bank to continue our long tradition of support for the Albright-Knox,” said Shelley C. Drake, President of the M&T Charitable Foundation. “M&T’s close relationship to the museum’s programming through M&T First Fridays and through decades of support for special exhibitions and other programs is now linked to the museum’s transformative vision of a campus that will embrace the community more expansively and elevate the Albright-Knox in the eyes of the world.”

Jerry Jacobs Jr., Co-CEO of Delaware North, said, "The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is one of Buffalo’s great institutions, and we are proud to support its cultural and educational missions. Delaware North joins our corporate colleagues in Buffalo in thanking Mr. Gundlach for his historic gift. We look forward to the museum’s continued growth and success."

"The First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank is proud to support the community effort to match the transformational gift of Mr. Gundlach, enabling Janne and his talented team to perpetuate the outstanding tradition of the Albright-Knox as one of the finest museums in the world—and certainly one of our area’s most important resources," said Elizabeth Gurney, Executive Director of the First Niagara Foundation. “We look forward to witnessing this magnificent transformation, as the Albright-Knox seeks to better engage, serve, and educate increasingly diverse audiences from Western New York and all around the globe.”

“We’ve been anchored in Buffalo and dedicated to the community for more than seventy years,” said Kevin Aman, Director of Communications for the Rich Family Foundation. “We’re here for the long haul, and we love to stand alongside others who share that same commitment. There is no greater example of that than the Albright-Knox. This is a thrilling time of expansion for the museum, and we are extremely pleased to help bring their vision to full realization.”

“Together with our clients, we are honored to join fellow Western New York philanthropic partners to help make the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s AK360 project a reality,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, President and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “The Albright-Knox Art Gallery is home to one of the world’s leading collections of contemporary and modern art. This campus expansion project strengthens the museum’s impact on regional tourism, broadens access to the arts for our entire community, and ensures the museum’s vitality for generations to come.”

The Albright-Knox formulated the AK360 project following an eighteen-month outreach effort to determine whether its public wanted the museum to enlarge and enhance its facilities and to understand how the community would like an expanded museum to function. Based on public input, the Albright-Knox then developed the concept of AK360, a title that signals the goal of taking a 360-degree view of the relationship between the institution and its community and urban setting.

The expansion project will:

  • Provide much-needed space to exhibit the museum’s collection of masterworks, which has quadrupled since its last expansion in 1962;
  • Create first-rate facilities for presenting special exhibitions;
  • Enhance the visitor experience with new and better spaces for education, dining, and special gatherings; and
  • Integrate the museum’s campus within Frederick Law Olmsted’s Delaware Park.

The Albright-Knox then conducted an international search for a design architect and selected the firm of OMA/Shohei Shigematsu. One of the world’s most admired architectural firms, OMA is known in the United States for projects including the Seattle Central Library, Milstein Hall at Cornell University, and the IIT Campus Center in Chicago. The enlarged and enhanced Albright-Knox will be OMA’s first museum project in the United States.

The generous organizations involved in this summer’s challenge include:

  • The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • The Cullen Foundation
  • The James H. Cummings Foundation
  • Delaware North
  • The First Niagara Foundation in partnership with KeyBank
  • The Seymour H. Knox Foundation
  • The Patrick P. Lee Foundation
  • M&T Bank
  • The John R. Oishei Foundation
  • The Rich Family Foundation
  • The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation
  • The Western New York Foundation
  • The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation