By the time the Albright-Knox Art Gallery closes its doors on Nov. 4 for its two-year expansion and renovation project, it will have raised more than $153 million.
But to reach its goal of $180 million – $160 million for construction costs and another $20 million for an operating endowment – it still has about $27 million to go. And with local pocketbooks mostly tapped out, gallery director Janne Sirén is taking his fundraising drive on the road. Or, more accurately, across the Atlantic Ocean.
"I have recently advanced our fundraising efforts to Europe, and we have several million in already from donors beyond the borders of the United States," Sirén said during Monday's meeting of the Buffalo Planning Board. "I think that says something about this project, especially since those are individuals who get no tax credits or any other benefits other than the joy in participating in this Buffalo project."
Albright-Knox Communications Director Maria Morreale confirmed that the museum is working on "a number of fundraising projects in Europe," but declined to give further details, citing ongoing negotiations. She added that more information about potential European funders will be available in the spring.
"It's a very exciting advance that we are making," Sirén said on Monday. "There are not very many American institutions that fundraise this actively outside the United States."
After the museum breaks ground on its long-planned project, which will include a new, 30,000-square-foot building and an underground parking garage, it will host events and exhibitions in a renovated space at 612 Northland Ave. Construction is expected to take about two years.
News Staff Reporter Jonathan Epstein contributed to this report.