Albany Museum of Art requests SPLOST funding from the city of Albany

Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax Funds Would Help Facilitate Move to Downtown
Ama Interior

ALBANY, GA ─ The Albany Museum of Art this morning asked the Albany City Commission for inclusion in the upcoming special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) referendum to help fund its relocation to downtown Albany.

AMA Executive Director Andrew J. Wulf, Ph.D., asked City Commissioners to consider a leadership gift of $8 million toward the $34,975,000 project. The museum, currently located at 311 Meadowlark Drive, will move to the former Belk department store at 128 and 146 W. Broad Ave.

“We serve Southwest Georgia through free admission and free field trips, community events like ChalkFest, and always providing a space that promotes inclusivity and accessibility,” Wulf said. “Accessibility is key to our mission and that is why our move downtown is crucial.”

The move downtown will more than double the AMA’s space, from 25,000 square feet at its current location to 53,000 square feet in its new home. The additional space will allow for:

  • Expanded exhibition space for art in a range of sizes and media;
  • Expanded event space;
  • Expanded classroom space that will support educational programs for children, teens, and adults;
  • State-of-the-art collection storage for the AMA’s permanent collection;
  • Studio space for artists-in-residence;
  • Multimedia systems that will support new and emerging art;
  • A café and museum store;
  • An outdoor sculpture garden.

“Our museum in Albany builds connections with individuals and communities to inspire curiosity, appreciation, understanding, and passion for art and creative thinking,” Wulf said. “We engage diverse experiences and perspectives in our audiences through exhibitions, events, collection preservation, research, and educational programming that have an impact on our residents.”

Moving the museum downtown will make the AMA a pillar for redevelopment in the area, creating a robust arts district with downtown cultural partners, he said. It will enable the AMA to reach a broader audience, host more K-12 and university student groups, and welcome large touring exhibitions.

“For more than 40 years, the AMA has encouraged the artistic curiosity of children and adults through studio classes, art camps, and art instruction events,” Wulf noted. “That work must continue. Through its educational outreach, the museum will increase awareness of and appreciation for a myriad of art forms and broaden partnerships with schools, youth-serving organizations, and other educational institutions for arts-focused, curriculum-based learning experiences involving anthropology, art, natural sciences, and many other subjects.”

In late 2021, the AMA completed and adopted a new five-year strategic plan that will result in the new downtown museum. The Albany Museum of Art is now set to begin its funding campaign and fully realize its potential as an arts center for Albany and Southwest Georgia.

“A lead gift from the city of Albany would be demonstrative and important,” Wulf concluded. “Your support will set the pace for others to join and invest in the community.”

A special-purpose local-option sales tax (SPLOST) is an optional 1 percent sales county tax used to fund capital outlay projects proposed by the county government and participating qualified municipal governments. By using special districts, the revenue of a county tax can be constitutionally shared with participating municipalities. The tax is imposed when the board of commissioners calls a local referendum and the referendum is subsequently passed by the voters within that special district. The SPLOST can be in effect for up to six years.

Dougherty County’s last SPLOST referendum was approved by voters in the fall of 2016, and was the sixth SPLOST referendum passed by Dougherty County voters.