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Assembly commits $5 million to Albright-Knox expansion

Assembly leaders on Thursday announced a $5 million state contribution toward Albright-Knox Art Gallery's $125 million expansion project.

The contribution is part of the state's previously announced $15 million commitment to the project, drawn from the state's capital projects budget. The gallery announced the state's pledge for the project in September, but the assembly waited until this week to make its own separate announcement.

"We all recognize that the Albright-Knox is a great asset to our local community, and the community is really proud of the Albright-Knox," assemblyman Sean M. Ryan said by phone ahead of Thursday's news conference in the gallery. "We believe that this singularly will be the biggest tourist draw into the City of Buffalo."

Ryan appeared at the gallery with fellow Western New York Assembly members Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes and Robin Schimminger as well Assembly speaker Carl Heastie, who characterized the expansion project as a way to draw job-seekers to the region.

The Albright-Knox's $125 million expansion project received an unexpected boost earlier this year, when Buffalo-born billionaire Jeffrey Gundlach pledged $42.5 million to the project. That contribution spurred a breathless fundraising campaign that resulted in more than $60 in donations from Albright-Knox board members, foundations and public sources.

Upon its completion sometime in the next five years, the gallery will change its name to the Buffalo Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum, or the Buffalo AKG Art Museum.

email: cdabkowski@buffnews.com

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