Contemporary Art In The Albany Public Library?
A Best Kept Secret.
Lately, I have been enjoying watching heads turn and eyes widen as visitors to the Albany Public Library head down the hall of the second floor and stop abruptly. They peer tentatively into the open double doors of the Albany Center Galleries and inquire gingerly, as though they don't belong, "What is this?" And then I smile... I feel like a kid opening a box with a lightening bug inside. I know I have something good and I know people will like looking at it.
"This….. (I pause for effect) is THE ALBANY CENTER GALLERIES." We are open to the public. You are welcome to come in and look.
The first timers don't stay long. The room is quiet; the pictures don't always look like real things. They are alone with the art and their own thoughts... NOT an everyday experience. Then, they come back, asking, "When is the next show?"
Long time gallery members and supporters of the visual arts are dropping in as well. It seems that it has taken awhile to find us. They reminisce briefly about the old galleries and the loss of space, but applaud the easy parking here. Then, they begin to look around.
"Very nice, is the artist local?"
"Oh yes, that's our mission; to exhibit the serious accomplished artists of the Hudson-Mohawk Region."
Our regional artists are some of the finest in the world. And their work can be seen 12-5 pm Tuesday through Saturday in the Main Branch of the Albany Public Library, 2nd floor. In addition, a free public reception and artist's interview accompanies every show. Who Knew?
Off-site exhibitions, known as "Art In Public Spaces" expand viewing space and are administered from the library. One business that exhibits local art year-round from 10 am - 7pm M-F is the Albany Massage Therapists Associates on Madison Ave.
Students from surrounding schools ages 11-18 can participate in a program called "Innervisions", a collaboration with Jendy Murphy's Youth Services program. Students meet artists, make art, and are given an opportunity to exhibit their work in the library. During school breaks, younger students can participate in a full week of arts education produced by the gallery, Capital Repertory and Ellen Sinopoli's Dance Company.
ACG also participates in the "Career Exploration" program at Albany High. I overheard one H.S. intern say, "I thought all galleries did was sell art." She's not wrong. We do sell art, fine, reasonably priced art, but we do a lot more.
We invite you to share in the secret on the second floor. When you enter the gallery space you can spend all the time you want in a peaceful setting and view images made by your friends and neighbors. The gallery chooses images and sculpture that we hope will cause you to think new thoughts and maybe inspire you or your children to make some art of your own. At the very least, we offer a haven in a hectic world.
Former V.P., Board of Directors