Albany Museum of Art wants to replace downtown dance studio with public art display

Updated: Apr. 7, 2021 at 7:25 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Albany Museum of Art (AMA) is taking a major step in building their future home in Downtown Albany.

On Wednesday, they asked the Historic Preservation Commission for permission to demolish a dance studio to put in an art exhibit at West Broad Avenue and South Washington Street.

It was also once a gas station and an auto repair shop, according to the museum. A sculpture garden would be a public outdoor space for any passersby to see.

“Very public, very creative. At the very least, it will seriously beautify a rather depressed-looking corner of the city,” said Executive Director Andy Wulf.

The attached Belk building, the next-door parking lot, and the dance studio were donated to AMA in 2019. It’s a historic location and Wulf said they plan to honor that history.

A former dance studio on Washington and West Broad, may one day be an art display.
A former dance studio on Washington and West Broad, may one day be an art display.(WALB)

“We’re going to keep those telltale arches on the facade of the Belk, which indicate that it was a Belk building, one of the many Belk department stores throughout the south. And we will be telling the story of what the building served as in the lobby of the new museum so people see that there is a continuity to history and we are honoring history. Very important,” Wulf said.

He said the move overall will help increase accessibility and expose a variety of people to art.

“There are way too many people who don’t feel comfortable in museums. That doesn’t feel like museums are for them, that museums have maintained this kind of ivory tower status,” he said.

The new location would be twice the size of its current location at Meadowlark Drive. The move is expected to happen in three to five years.

The Historic Commission is expected to vote on AMA’s request on May 5.

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