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The local arts community will score a rare double Monday when Douglas G. Schultz, director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County are honored during the 2002 Governor's Arts Awards in New York City.

Over the past decade, only five other area individuals and organizations have been among the winners at the glitzy annual affair in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Schultz, 54, who is retiring after 30 years at the Albright-Knox -- 19 as director -- will be honored for bringing greater glory to a museum long regarded as among America's finest repositories of modern art.

"Under his strong direction, the Albright-Knox has made important contemporary art acquisitions, has had a well-structured, varied exhibition program and has completely renovated its physical facilities," Schultz's citation says.

During his tenure, the gallery has acquired more than 1,200 works of contemporary modern art, increased its endowment by more than 400 percent, and in 1999 completed an $8.4 million interior and exterior renovation.

That same year, Schultz spearheaded the cultural community's first collaborative tourism marketing campaign, dubbed "The Summer of Monet," in connection with an Albright-Knox exhibition of paintings by French impressionist Claude Monet.

Last spring, the Elmwood Avenue museum unveiled a strategic plan calling for construction of a new wing by 2012.

"Doug has done a remarkable job," said Richard J. Schwartz, chairman of the New York State Council on the Arts. "The Albright was a great institution when he arrived. It is really a world-class institution now."

Schultz will receive his award from American visual artist Jeff Koons and museum Director Max Anderson.

The Arts Council in Buffalo and Erie County will be recognized for 28 years of service to area arts organizations and individual artists, including the annual distribution of state and county cultural subsidies through various regrant programs.

The organization was established as Arts Development Services in September 1973 and assigned the task of generating new audiences for major cultural organizations. It was renamed the Arts Council in 1987 and the following year began administering a local incentive funding program financed by Erie County.

Today, under Executive Director Celeste M. Lawson, the council offers a full range of programs for groups and individual artists, and awards hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly in incentive funding. The organization's signature event is the annual Arts Awards Luncheon, which recognizes artists, art organizations and businesses that support them.

The Arts Council recently has placed a high priority on information and programs tailored to the specific needs of hundreds of constituent artists and organizations.

"They've brought a lot of attention to arts organizations, particularly small ones (that) otherwise would not get much attention," Schwartz said. From the state Arts Council's viewpoint, "Celeste and her group are always in the forefront of anything we do there," he added.

Local winners of Governor's Arts Awards over the last decade are CEPA Gallery in 2001; photographer Milton Rogovin in 2000; Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in 1999; Just Buffalo Literary Center in 1997; and the African-American Cultural Center in 1994.

Joining Schultz and the Arts Council as recipients of this year's honors will be the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra; Bardavon 1869 Opera House; H.T. Chen & Dancers; State Sen. Roy M. Goodman; Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors; Manhattan Theatre Club; photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks; Center for Arts Education; and American Museum of the Moving Image.


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