Albany Center Gallery's 45th Anniversary!
Tags: Gallery News
ACG 45th Anniversary Logo by local artist Quill Harrison
We are celebrating our 45th Anniversary!
Albany Center Gallery was founded in 1977 by Les Urbach.
Starting April 2022, Albany Center Gallery is celebrating its 45th anniversary! Albany Center Gallery was founded in 1977 by Leslie Urbach. We have since exhibited thousands of local and regional artists, as well as worked with the community to bring more art accessibility and programming to individuals and youth of all backgrounds. We are ecstatic to be celebrating 45 years of being Albany Center Gallery, and look forward to all that is coming. The gallery has had many names over the years (Center Galleries, Friends of Les Urbach Gallery, Albany Center Galleries, etc.), but has always had the continued purpose of highlighting local and regional artists.
As a part of our big 45th anniversary, ACG is strategic planning with a consultant for the sustainability and future of the organization. During this process, we have revamped our mission, vision, and values statements. We have not changed the meaning nor intentions, but rather adjusted the language of our organizational statements to better fit the work, community collaborations, and authentic art celebrations we've grown to do and love! Read the updated statements here. ACG’s updated mission reads: Albany Center Gallery promotes and exhibits art produced by the region’s emerging and established artists and engages, enriches, and inspires the community to appreciate the importance of art.
In its beginning, ACG hosted 7 in-house exhibitions every year, like it still does. The shows have developed over time to welcome a greater number of artists from an ever-expanding range of personal and creative backgrounds through thoughtful committee and curated processes. ACG’s work has grown beyond its walls over time to include 30+ art programs annually (including free youth art programs and pop-up exhibitions), the public art project #CapitalWalls, and many other arts-related initiatives and collaborations. #CapitalWalls is a public art initiative of Albany Barn and Albany Center Gallery, with foundational support from ParkAlbany. This project seeks to inspire our community with uplifting, educational, or thought-provoking works of public art. It started with “Bluebirds” by Michael Conlin in 2016, and now in 2022 there are 18 murals from different artists who are local, regional, and international. As we continue to build the mural program, we are excited to see what the artists create and the stories they tell. We have 2-4 more murals planned for 2022-2023. In addition to the mural, associated programming has received outstanding support! For the past couple years, we have developed guided bike and walking tours. Over 500 individuals have experienced a #CapitalWalls tour. They are widely anticipated, with recurring participants and individuals from in and out-of-state joining.
In ACG’s 45th year, the Gallery only continues to grow. We have expanded to include a much-needed art workshop space to host the youth art programs, community events, and additional pop-ups/exhibitions! We received a $25,000 contract with the NYS Office of Children & Family Services to continue the expansion of our beloved youth art programs, known as LOOK!. As well as, $25,000 from the Carl E. Touhey Foundation for the rent of (a 3-year pledge!). “I’m thrilled to have secured a $25,000 grant for the Albany Center Gallery to continue its innovative LOOK! Art Youth program,” said Assemblymember Patricia Fahy. “New York’s character and history has long been shaped by our artists and their presence is essential to our local economies, vibrant communities, and social fabric. Albany Center Gallery has been at the forefront of the Capital Region’s art scene and I look forward to continuing to support their efforts in our community, our local artists, and our aspiring young artists.”
The youth art programs are at the new location in the Arcade Building across the hallway from ACG. The physical Art.Work.Space. showcases youth artwork, hosts additional community programming and celebrations, as well as is utilized as a creative workspace. It is a vibrant, colorful environment for artmaking, art-sharing, and dialogue about art! ACG is partnering with the RED Bookshelf, a literacy non-profit, to host monthly youth art workshops every second Saturday. “I’m super-excited because what Albany lacks is enough dedicated spaces for young people to do activities,” said Paul Collins-Hackett, Executive Director of the RED Bookshelf. “Now, community efforts to make dedicated spaces for kids to work are very much appreciated.”
photo from ribbon cutting on Aug 5 pARTy reception.
Tony Iadicicco, Executive Director of Albany Center Gallery, shares, “It’s exciting to be able to envision what the next few years will be like, as far as the expansion in the projects and programs we’ll have. These grants make this project possible. Without them, we wouldn’t be having this conversation,” Iadicicco said. “The purpose is about trying to create more accessibility and programs and community spaces for arts and activities.”
In addition to these new initiatives and updates, Albany Center Gallery plans to spend its 45th year and beyond planning more free community arts programming than ever before. In its newly adopted values, ACG shares it believes in the power of artists and art, their impact, and numerous essential principles such as accessibility. The demand for free, quality arts programming is higher than ever, and ACG is ready to deliver.